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It is the responsibility of leaders to ensure the development of team members

As we wrote in a previous blog on Becoming an Excellent Developer of People, developing the skills of your team members is your responsibility as a leader. Your organization’s Human Resources and Talent Development departments are resources for you to use in this endeavor. But it is your responsibility to ensure the continuous development of your team members and yourself, not theirs.

Everyone on your team has talents that can be improved. These can be the functional skills needed to perform their jobs, or the interpersonal skills required to get work done in collaboration or cooperation with others. Great leaders ensure that all members of their teams receive on-going development, both formally and informally.

There are six main methodologies for leading people development, including three that come under the traditional heading of training. These six methods are: People Development | Talent Development

  • Feedback
  • Coaching
  • Delegation
  • On-the-job training
  • Team training
  • Formal classroom training

The 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development states that individuals obtain 70% of their work-related knowledge from job-related experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal education events such as training programs.

Hence, as a leader of people, you should focus your team member development efforts, for both teams and individuals, on the first five methods above. Your Human Resources and Talent Development colleagues should take the lead only on formal training events, which include both classroom and virtual training programs.

Feedback is a specialized form of professional development, one with which many new managers and leaders struggle. Part of the reason for this is that feedback has been taught as either positive or negative, with the latter difficult to deliver.

Providing feedback is also a factor in increasing employee engagement, but only if it is done in the proper way. A leader’s intention in giving feedback to a team member must always be for the purpose of helping the employee improve performance or behavior. Feedback should never be given when upset, angered, or disappointed with a direct report or colleague. We will delve into best-practices in giving feedback next week.

In the meantime, here are three of my favorite quotes on developing people:

If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The best of us are those who help the rest of us. ~ Anthony Douglas Williams

It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test. ~ Elbert Hubbard 


This article is excerpted from my book Great Leadership Words of Wisdom, which is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats and has over 1000 quotes on leadership from global business leaders, statesmen, athletes, coaches, sages, and philosophers.

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