How to develop your team

How to develop your team

No matter how busy you and your business are, it is important to make time to train and develop your team, says leadership coach Lauren Paton, founder of Unleashed Coaching + Reprogramming

Developing your team is a key part of growing a successful business, says leadership coach Lauren Paton. Here how to do it:

1. Make training and development a priority

Lauren says: “Training and development is essential, but it is quite often overlooked and deprioritised. But if you want to retain good people it is important that you enable them to build their skills. People want to have challenges and to work on projects that enable them to be stretched, but they don’t want to feel like they are dropped in at the deep end. A lot of people are resigning from their job at the moment and one of the key reasons they are giving for this is that they aren’t getting enough training and development. People who are supported and developed in an environment where they are cared about are going to stay for longer.”

She adds: “With smaller businesses in particular, in the early days you may not be able to afford people who are already at a senior level, which makes it even more important that you focus on developing the people you do have.”

2. See it as a benefit not a cost

Lauren says: “Training your employees enables you to build teams that are going to be highly productive. If you can build a culture that trains and develops people, you are going to have really high performing people who are happy and thriving - and that will help you grow your business.”

3. Be clear about your vision for your business

Lauren says: “Get clear on your vision for the business, your values and your culture, in order to understand what’s most important for building successful teams in your business. If you know where you want your business to go, and you know who you want your people to be, that makes it easier for you to make sure that you are supporting them in the right direction.”

4. Create a proper structure for training and development

Lauren says: “It is essential for everyone to have a development plan which provides them with a clear path to promotion. Be very clear about what skills and experience people need to have and what evidence they need to provide in order to get to the next level. If you want someone to be leading a team in the next 12 months, for example, show them what skills they need to get them to that point, then help them develop those skills.”

5. Focus on a person’s strengths

Lauren says: “Double down on strengths, not weaknesses. You’ll get far more out of someone by allowing them to focus on what they’re great at, versus the same time spent improving weaknesses. And recognise and develop the individual strengths of your team members, rather than looking for them to fit into a predefined mould.”

6. Realise that it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money

Lauren says: “You don’t need to invest in really expensive training packages or coaches. You can be smart about it by looking at well-priced online courses, or helping them find them mentors who can support them in development areas.”

7. Involve your team

Lauren says: “Allow a space for people to share and actively listen when they provide feedback. Be open to people saying where they need training and on good ways for them to get this training. People need to be able to say, I don’t feel I am strong enough in this area, I need some additional support, without that being seen as a bad thing. People saying I want to be better at this should be celebrated.”

8. Set a good example

Lauren says: “Make sure you are also training and developing yourself. You need to have it baked into the culture that this is something that is really important for all of you and it starts from the top.”

9. Make sure you include training for leadership roles

Lauren says: “Leadership skills should be part of everyone’s development. If someone is promoted to lead a team and they haven’t had leadership skills built into their development over time, they could be completely out of their depth. It is important to build that up as a skill set for everybody from the beginning to set them and their teams up for success.”

Three things that business leaders can do right now

1. Set out your vision, values and culture for the business to help you understand what you need from the people working in it

2. Assess how well you are doing against those things and identify where the gaps are

3. Start putting plans together which enable you to fill those gaps

Lauren Paton is the founder of Unleashed Coaching + Reprogramming. She is a leadership coach and accredited energy psychology practitioner working with individuals and organisations to retain, develop, and attract world-class talent.

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