“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
When you develop your team members, they become better at what they do and that benefits both you and the organization. There is a difference between equipping team members and developing team members. When you equip someone you are teaching them how to do a task or perform a duty. When you develop someone you help them improve as an individual. You help them acquire personal qualities that will benefit them in many areas of life.
Development is Long Term
Equipping a team member is usually quick and straightforward, whereas development of a team members always takes time because it requires change on the part of the individual being developed. The development of your team members is an ongoing process and you should have a plan in place which includes consistent, regularly scheduled activities. These activities geared towards developing your team members can include books, teaching lessons, conferences, soft skills courses and seminars. As team leader you also need to keep growing yourself because you cannot give that which you do not have.
Discover Each Team Member’s Dreams and Desires
Equipping is based on what the team needs, while developing is based on what the team member needs individually in order to become a better person. To develop your team members you need to know their dreams and desires. Also keep in mind that team leaders are learning, growing and pursuing their own dreams, they are more likely to help others pursue their own dreams.
Lead Each Member of Your Team Differently
Do not attempt to lead everyone in your team the same way, everyone does not respond to the same kind of leadership. Be consistent in treating everyone with kindness and respect, but do not use the same strategy and methods for everyone. Take responsibility for conforming your leadership style to what the individual members of your team need, not expecting them to adapt to you.
Help Your Team Members to Know Them Selves
You cannot be realistic about your potential until you are realistic about your position. You need to know where you are before you can figure out how to get to someplace else. One of the first steps of developing your team members is to help them define the reality of who they are currently. You need to help them to recognize their strengths and weaknesses so you can develop them in those areas.
Do Not Shy Away From Conflict
Development usually involves hard lessons. True growth comes when we have positive responses to negative experiences. As a team leader you need to get passed the discomfort of having difficult conversations for the sake of your team. People will work through difficulties if they believe you are willing to work with them.
Celebrate the Right Wins
Leaders that develop their team members help them get wins under their belt. Strategic wins are always of the greatest value to the individual. Target wins based on where you want the team member to grow and how you want them to grow. It is always an extra incentive for a person to go after things that will help them improve as an individual. Celebrating a wrong activity that somehow got the right result is setting up the team member for failure. Evaluate what looks like a win to make sure it is actually teaching the team member what they need to learn in order to grow.
Prepare Your Team Members for Leadership
No development process is complete without the inclusion of leadership development. The better your team members are at leading, the greater impact they will have on the organization. Take your team members through processes that gets them ready to step in and lead.