Whether you have a team loaded with raw talent – imaginative designers, clever copywriters, skilled coders – or overworked legacy employees taking on work beyond their skill sets, one of your key duties as the team leader is to coach your team to higher performance.
I thought about this while watching my daughter in her first season of volleyball. While she has some good raw talent, it became clear to me that she needed some solid coaching to really take her volleyball game to another level.
Coaching is an essential aspect of leadership. In the workplace, it also means providing a foundation of the right content and education, setting the stage so that employees can take advantage of those resources to improve their skills, work better together and grow as a team.
1. Identify sources for the resources you need. Good-quality, free or low-cost information is all around you, just about all of it is online. My list below will get you started. Once you start hunting seriously, you'll gravitate to the kind of information that's most relevant to your team:
2. Take an active role in training and sharing information. Don't just ship a pile of information or URLs to your entire team or tell them to watch a particular video. Target the information to the best candidates and tie it to a specific goal, or explain why it's important or relevant (sound familiar?). Also, encourage them to seek out helpful information on their own.
3. Schedule time for group learning and discussion. Maybe you can't take the team on a week-long retreat, but you can schedule a monthly or biweekly lunch gathering at which members can share what they learned in a webinar, at a local workshop or in assigned reading.
4. Report your successes up the line to your superiors. The best justification for adding training expenses to your budget is to show how the work you're doing helps your team build and polish their skills and produce more successfully for the company.
Until next time, take it – and your staff – up a notch!