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Ten Ways to Develop Your Team Members  – For Free!

Ten Ways to Develop Your Team Members – For Free!

Here are ten ways to develop your team members that don’t cost anything.

When thinking about what your team members need to develop, don’t automatically assume that this means they need to go on a management training course – it doesn’t.  There are many things that you can do to develop your team members ‘on the job’ with coaching and mentoring support from you or other people.

Here are ten great ways you can develop your team members that don’t cost any money.

  1. Delegate! Since you need to delegate to be effective in your role, you might as well do so in a way that provides development opportunities for your team members.  When you delegate there are two things to consider.  The first, is the responsibility you want the other person to have on your behalf and the second, is the amount of autonomy you are prepared to give them. Clearly the more challenging the responsibility and the greater the autonomy you give your team member, the better the development opportunity.  If they simply do what you tell them to do then they are unlikely to learn anything useful.
  2. Ask them to identify a project they think will solve a business problem or improve performance – then let them get on with it. The best ideas about how to improve something often come from people doing the work every day.  By specifically asking your team members to think about a project or initiative that would benefit the business, they will gain experience of analysing business problems, tackling tough assignments, influencing others and managing change.
  3. Let them shadow you or another person. Shadowing is a great way to broaden someone’s perspective. Ask them to shadow someone who is particularly adept at using the skills they need to develop.  For example, if they need to hone their project management skills, ask them to shadow an experienced project manager.  Alternately, if they wish to become a manager shadowing is a terrific opportunity for them to see what “a day in the life” looks like at more senior levels.
  4. Act as a sounding board. Letting your team members think out loud so that they resolve their own problems and reach their own conclusions, is an extremely valuable way to help them learn and develop.
  5. Broaden their role to take on additional responsibilities. A valuable way to broaden people’s skills is to let them take on additional responsibilities in areas outside of their usual job role.  It could be something simple such as representing you at a regular meeting, taking on responsibility for part of your budget or covering for holidays.  Alternatively, it could be something more challenging such as managing the execution of a complex project from start to finish.
  6. Assign one of your people to a cross functional business project. Assigning an individual to a cross functional business project gives them exposure to other functions, an understanding of the interrelationships between different functions and an opportunity to build relationships across the organisation.  It can also be a great for them to interact with your boss and senior managers.
  7. Have your team member create their own management training workshop. Let’s take a simple example.  One of your team needs to improve their project management skills and so ask them to do a number of things (e.g. read a book on project planning, shadow an experienced project manager etc).  You then ask them to prepare and deliver a workshop to the rest of your team on project planning fundamentals.  There’s nothing quite like the challenge of delivering a training workshop to ensure that your team member fully understands the subject!
  8. Ask them to act as a mentor to someone from outside of your organisation. There are a range of charities such as the Young Enterprise scheme and Prince’s Trust that need people with business experience to mentor young people.  This is a great way to develop an individual’s interpersonal skills as well as their coaching and mentoring abilities.
  9. Give them a temporary lateral assignment.  This could be a secondment to a different function, location or even to a customer or supplier.   Secondments are very valuable to helping people to see the business/organisation from an alternative perspective.
  10. Assign them to mentor a colleague. It could be a new member of the team or a highly talented employee, depending on how much you want to challenge their own expertise and coaching skills.  Ensure the mentee provides feedback to help them to develop how they coach, explain things and as well as support people.

When discussing development opportunities with your team members, don’t automatically assume that they need to attend a management training course.  It is likely that the majority of your team members’ development needs can be focussed on ‘on the job’.  And the great thing about these approaches is they don’t cost you a penny!

Finally, here’s one more thing that you can do to support your team members development that doesn’t cost any money.   Give them free access to the Manager’s Toolkit.  The Toolkit is a digital hub of on demand resources designed to help your managers develop their skills, take control of their personal growth and boost their performance – whenever and wherever they need it.  You can sign up for free here.

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