Leadership Development Series Part II: Invest in Your Team

leadership development invest in your teamLast week, I kicked off a blog series focusing on several investments that Disciplined Leaders learn how to make—and the sooner, the better. That first investment must be in YOU, as in your professional growth and leadership development. However, there’s a second investment that’s also directly tied to supporting your leadership success and organization’s vitality: it’s the commitment you make toward your team’s wellbeing. As outlined in a 2011 study by The Corporate Executive Board Company, “Companies that invest in leadership development have outperformed others by 15 times over the last 60 years.” Yet how common is it for businesses to throw money into the wind, signing up their people for programs or learning opportunities that don’t fully align with the organization’s goals and strategies? It happens all the time. In fact, here at MAP, new clients sometimes tell us they’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on the wrong kind of professional development, so much so that they’re afraid to invest in the right kind of coaching when they find it. This year, make a commitment to invest in your team members and you’ll likely experience ROI in terms of productivity and revenue. Find the right ways to empower and educate them so they’re appropriately and adequately supported in reaching their full potential.

Here are a few ways you can do that:

Create a culture of professional development. This is about making the professional growth and wellbeing of your team members an integral part of how you run the business, not some afterthought. From the moment you hire, make sure the expectations for ongoing learning and improvement are clear, with plans that will support this proactive strategy for greater learning, morale, productivity and results. Also, assign accountability to this strategy, checking in regularly with your people to ensure they’re not just learning but are applying it in a meaningful, measurable, results-oriented way and course-correcting where necessary with additional or different professional development. The point is, growth never ends in a culture that, as a rule, consistently breeds betterment.

Build your bench strength. Who among your team has the potential to really be great? Have a formal way to identify those key players or use a program for systematically identifying (hidden) strengths and talents. For example, MAP uses a high-caliber assessment for helping people understand how they interface as team members. Through this tool, sometimes people discover something life-changing about their potential and that they never fully realized before taking the test. As their leader, once you know this information, you can provide the training and resources for developing these strengths, helping your people grow and get to the next level more quickly.

Choose development opportunities that will matter. The better you know your people and your company’s goals, the more likely you can choose a program that’s going to truly lift them up, help them to excel, and improve their productivity and company success. Whether it’s classes, courses, the MAP 2.5-day executive workshop, or some other type of professional learning opportunity, make sure whatever you choose isn’t willy-nilly in nature, or something that’s generic or unable to be customized to your people and the organization’s vital strategies and goals. Fail to select the right methods of professional development, and it can sack your resources. In fact, a study by Boston Consultant Group states that companies spend billions in this area of business without realizing their ROI. Make sure the training you provide always aligns with your company objectives, is specific versus general, and is able to be reinforced regularly, even long after the initial training is done.

What are some small, yet meaningful investments you’ve made in the professional growth of your team members?

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