Regardless of if you’re a new manager, or if you’ve been managing teams for years, the truth is that your team is always going to change. As a manager, it’s your job to ensure that your team has the proper skills they need to succeed, as well as the appropriate direction in their new career.
It’s important that you understand the goals of each of your employees, so sit down with each team member individually to discuss where their goals are. It’s also essential that you remember to keep an open mind during these discussions, because you might not always get the answers you expect. Take the time to really listen and get to know your staff. Once you have a clear idea of where each employee is, it’s going to help you piece together a plan that enhances their skills.
Identify Development Gaps
Another critical part of development is finding out the areas where your employees need to improve and grow. There are times where those areas are easy to identify, but other times you might need to do some searching. Whether it’s inexperience with particular software, or a lack of professionalism in emails, knowing these weaker points are essential to a team’s success. During your discussion of goals, ask your employee what areas they want to grow in.
Establish Training Objectives
Now that you know where your employee can grow, you can’t just tell them how to complete the task. Your results are going to be much better if you create a training objective that is specific to that area. Including objectives such as desired actions, deadlines, evaluation methods and examples of success are great places to start. If your team has the proper training documentation, they are more likely to advance in their desired areas.
Creating Training Plans
Once you’ve laid out the objectives, you need to create a training plan. It’s true that everyone learns differently, so you can’t expect that your team is going to learn at the same pace. Ask your staff how they learn best. Do they learn better on their own, or in group settings? Remember that having a training plan in place isn’t enough. You can’t just leave your team with online classes, you need to provide feedback, and check-in on their progress to see if they have any questions. Make yourself available during their training so that they know they can come to you; encouragement is vital in the beginning stages.
Making it Fun
Not all team development and advancement plans need to be strict and structured. Many of the best learning is done through fun and interactive team meetings or chats out of the cubicles. A great example of a fun development exercise is holding a “lunch and learn.” You can invite your team to a group meeting where they have lunch, and learn something that is useful and might make their job easier. Even if it’s not something they use in their daily position, understanding other tasks that are completed within the organization you all work for can help guide them down their career path.
It is a lot of work to be a manager and a lot of work to develop a strong team that you can rely on. Don’t throw team development on the back burner just to focus on the tasks that you have to do. Team development is a win-win no matter how you look at it, and your reward is a team that is positive, productive, happy and motivated. You’re also likely to keep your team members, instead of having to deal with any unnecessary turnaround.