4 Ideas On How To Develop Your Team

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Consider this dismal statistic:

According to Korn Ferry Institute leadership development researcher Robert Eichinger: “the ability to “grow talent” is ranked 67th out of 67 competencies for managers.”  This confirms that developing your team is not as easy as the many other things you do as a leader.

The following are 4 ideas that I have seen work best when you want to develop a high performing team.

STEP 1: MAKE IT A PRIORITY:

Determine what your business case is for investing time and resources in developing your team.  Soft skills like “getting along better” are hard to measure, even though few would argue the benefits of qualities such as improved collaboration.  Your team will want to know why you are asking them to participate given the volume of competing priorities they will face.  Link your team development goals to a business goal to provide a compelling reason for the investment and the engagement.

STEP 2: DEFINE YOUR ROI UP FRONT:

In my coaching practice, I often see that what appears to others as a lack of accountability may really be performance a break down due to a lack of energy.  People do not have unlimited capacity to think and work unlimited hours a week.  Many people are working beyond their capacity and simply can’t meet the demands bosses keep piling on them often with little positive feedback. They don’t feel valued.  Many are people who desire to take a great deal of responsibility, yet they don’t know if it is OK to ask for help.  They don’t feel supported.  Some are caught up in an organization change where responsibilities seemed to double and change over night and they no longer like what they are being asked to do.  They don’t feel inspired.

All of these conditions are energy-depleting and when are fuel is low, our brains can’t help but resort to quick fixes, workarounds, reactive firefighting, and many more like blaming, finger pointing, defensiveness, avoidance, apathy – qualities we associate with low accountability.

STEP 3: KNOW YOUR STARTING POINT:

Your ROI analysis described above should help you create an ideal state of effectiveness for your team.  Then it usually takes some deeper diagnosis of the team’s current state to understand their development needs and to ensure you are building an appropriate development strategy.

Assessments are key to building a development plan on an objective look at what your team would really benefit working on to meet your business goals. The two types of assessment approaches I’ve seen work the best are to measure each individual’s motivational /personality style and the other is leadership behaviors.  Both can be rolled up into composite team reports so a whole picture of the team can be created.  This creates some skin in the game for each individual to assess their individual role in contributing to the team’s overall effectiveness.

At Ring Results, we use the MRG Leadership Effectiveness suite of assessments which focuses on behaviors and the Integrative Enneagram for focus on motivations and personality insight.   We also use interview data from the team members directly about what they see their greatest development opportunities are.  This greatly helps pinpoint what to focus on and to gain their buy-in.

STEP 4: DESIGN A MAKE-SENSE STRATEGY:

Once you’ve assessed your team, you’ll then move onto the next step to decide what needs to change to improve team performance and what learning approach will get the intended results.  Coaches look at how to build a development plan for each team based on the level of competence desired and the complexity of the change required.  The greater the level of mastery desired and complexity, the more sophisticated the process needs to be.  This is a critical part to the entire process and why consulting with performance and learning specialists can help ensure the learning strategy designed matches the situation and goals.

For professional level teams:

I strongly recommend that you focus on your team development program to occur in consistent time commitments, over a period of six to twelve months.  You will get much better results–and a much better return on your investment–than a feel-good teambuilding event without any follow-up. Those one-time team building sessions can actually backfire on your leadership credibility, as savvy team members feel resentful about the time they wasted for a “flavor of the month” experience.  So it’s really about doing work up front and more over time. Budget investment breakdown is recommended to be 25% on team performance diagnosis, 25% on the initial learning experience, and 50% on follow-up activities over time.

Here at Ring Results, we’ve developed a short quiz and a free customized report that can help you kick-start creating a plan for how to develop your team.

What strategies have you used to create a team development plan? Tell us below!

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