We all have a responsibility to develop those around us

We all have a responsibility to develop those around us, and coaching and mentoring is a key trait of any great leader. We can rely upon formal corporate training if it is offered, but to  really propel your team forward you need to take up the slack yourself.


We all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses (I think it’s OK to call them that. Its reality). Our role as leaders is to identify what gaps there are within the training and career development system  and then fill those gaps with our own professional development series for our team and ourselves.


It doesn’t have to be complex, and it doesn’t have to use a vast amount of external resources – look at your own team and those teams around you, and see who how has specific skills and knowledge that could be passed on to others.


Not only would doing such a thing  increase the knowledge, skills, and competence of those around you, it will also help engage your staff and act as a really good team-building exercise (insert trust) if done correctly – and to do it correctly, it needs to be kept simple. Too complex, too challenging, or relying too much on resources you don’t have will put up too many unnecessary hurdles.


Also, remember, the busyness of our daily working lives means there are enough hurdles already with introducing more ‘work’.  So here are some simple steps that can help you develop a professional development series:

  1. Identify gaps in the training provided and the abilities of your team. Make your team part of this process. This will help to get buy-in from the start.
  2. Develop a list of potential topics. There should be a balance between practical training (i.e. financial management  within your organization) and more philosophical training.
  3. Find the one which you think will get the most engagement that can be coordinated simply with your own resources. You want to increase the likelihood of success right from the start.
  4. Start the series with this topic as the inaugural event. The intent here is that you will demonstrate that it can be done and it can be worthwhile.
  5. Look elsewhere for opportunities. Having future leaders attend strategic meetings, even as observers, can go a long way in helping them develop.
  6. Develop the series plan, seek volunteers, and be disciplined about who attends. There’s always other work and priorities to do. The success of a professional development series rests largely on the priority you give it.
  7. Seek continuous feedback from your team. Make them part of the whole process and encourage them to own it.
  8. Advertise  what you are doing to the rest of your organization. This helps increase  team ethos and pride, opens the door for more volunteers to run sessions, gains buy-in from senior leadership and encourages other leaders to follow suit and develop their own sessions for their teams.


Yes, this all takes work, and there are many reasons why we shouldn’t do it. But going back to Stephen Covey’s 4 quadrants. This is the important quadrant. Don’t ever sacrifice that for the urgent.

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