3 Keys To Developing Your Team

One of the things I like most about my job is the fact that I have the opportunity to help people succeed.  I am an operations manager for a construction company in the Philadelphia area.  An important part of my job involves meeting company targets for revenue, cash, and operating margin.  Another important part of my job involves developing my team.  They need to keep growing – learning new skills, preparing for future opportunities, and taking on more responsibility.

Developing your team members does not happen by accident.  It takes intentionality.  If you are serious about helping your team members grow, here are a few ideas worth considering:

3 Keys To Developing Your Team

  1. Give them your time.  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  (John Maxwell)  It’s easy to get caught up with meetings with other managers.  It’s easy to get lost in the details of spreadsheets and emails.  And it’s easy to close the door to your office to avoid the people who need you the most.  A good leader is intentional in spending time with his team members.  By spending time with your team members, you get a good sense of what is working well and what is not working well.  This means stopping by their office or cubicle from time to time just to say hello.  This means eating lunch with your team members once in a while.  And it means meeting with your team members one on one on a regular basis.  I meet with my team members twice a month for 30-60 minutes.  One of these meetings focuses on project specifics.  We talk about the financial details of the projects.  We talk about the resource requirements for the projects.  We talk about the risks and opportunities associated with each of the projects.  And we talk about customer satisfaction issues related to each of the projects.  The second meeting focuses on the employee.  We talk about their development plans and needs.  We talk about their families.  And we talk about anything they might need from me to help them succeed.  (For more about one-on-one meetings, check out my guest post over at Matt McWilliams’ blog – Do You Want to Know My Number One Leadership Tool?.)  Developing your team starts by spending time with your team members.
  2. Show your appreciation.  Employees need feedback, so they will know how to improve.  They also need to know what they need to keep doing right.  Silence is not an option.  Lack of feedback to an employee is like telling them everything they are doing is wrong.  Employees do need feedback on what they need to work on.  More importantly, employees need to know when they are doing the right things.  This is best expressed through appreciation.  This is why I recommend joining the Thank You Revolution.  Writing thank you notes to your team members when they are doing things well provides great encouragement.  This type of encouragement often propels team members to develop themselves.  (For more information about the power of appreciation, check out another one my guest posts over at Matt McWilliams’ blog – The Power of Gratitude.)
  3. Keep developing yourself.  Just because you are a manager does not mean you have arrived.  There is always still more to learn.  Listen to leadership and coaching podcasts.  Read books about leadership.  Take an on-line course or seminar, or pursue an advanced degree.  Find someone to mentor you.  These steps will keep you growing, and they will show your team how important it is to keep learning.

How has your boss helped you develop?  What is something you can do to help your team members develop?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

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