Career strategy tips from QA

As a leader, how are you supporting someone's evolution?

Follow these 6 tips to develop your employees.

Jennie Marshall | 3 August 2016

Let me ask you a question as a leader – when was the last time you consciously took the time to develop one of your employees? When did you contribute to the evolution of their career?

One of the core responsibilities of a good leader is the ability to develop the skills and talents of the employees on their team. In today’s thriving social learning environment you are probably fortunate to have many resources available to help develop your employees. Could you name them all?

With the rise in the demand for learning to become more of a social interaction, you, as the leader, are still ultimately responsible for providing developmental coaching for your team.

Sounds easy right? Some leaders can struggle to find ways to develop their team beyond some coaching or sending their team on a course.

Follow these tips to help prepare your team members for success in their current roles and beyond.

1. Encourage development

Be encouraging when it comes to professional development. Your highest performers are often not satisfied with their skills today and will be looking to develop beyond their current role. If they want to they can become leaders, but they will need your support. Remember, these are the team members who often have the most options for work elsewhere. Neglecting your high performers and their development may result in unwanted turnover.

Become familiar with what learning opportunities are offered within your business. For example, does your organisation have a mentoring programme? If not, why not start one? Encourage your team members to take advantage of these opportunities if they fit with their developmental plan.

2. Create a plan together

Help them create a developmental plan and then support it. Get to know your team members! First seek to understand their strengths, interests, goals, weaknesses, and what's most important to them. Ask questions, listen, and observe them in action. Help them understand the competencies required for them to grow and/or be promoted. Be specific in describing what skills, behaviours and knowledge will help them reach the next level. The developmental plan is essentially a roadmap and should include information about the competencies desired, the actions necessary to acquire the specific skills/knowledge, resources that will be required and any target dates for completing the steps. As always, set a follow-up meeting to discuss whether or not the steps were completed and to assess progress together.

3. Support their network

Help them create a supportive network inside and outside of your organisation. Invite them to specific meetings in which you can introduce them to a work group and help them assimilate into the group by offering ideas on how they can participate in the group. Follow up with feedback on how well they performed within the group. Take them to outside professional group meetings that would support their development within the field. And yes, finally you can support them virtually as well by recommending online groups, blogs and connections that would add talented people and information to their networking circles.

4. Help them stretch

Give your high potential employees ‘stretch’ assignments which require they do something different from their normal routine. Getting an employee outside of his/her comfort zone is essential to building leadership skill. Encourage the employee to take intelligent risks in trying out new behaviours, but be sure you've established an environment in which mistakes are truly seen as an opportunity to learn.

5. Develop your own resources

Get creative! Some organisations have developed their own internal training and development opportunities to better serve the unique needs of their work roles. If your organisation doesn't offer internal training opportunities, then perhaps it's up to you to start that conversation.

6. Remember recognition

Finally, take time to recognise your employees for work well done. We encourage you to provide recognition in a timely and specific manner, but also remember to use the performance review as an opportunity to communicate your appreciation for excellent performance during the year.

If you are looking to update your skills, QA offer a wide range of Leadership and Development training courses to help you develop professionally, including coaching and mentoring courses. Our new Leadership Academy offers an intensive learning experience at a high-quality residential venue, allowing you to fully immerse yourself and take full advantage of the learning experience.


QA Training | Jennie-marshal

Jennie Marshall

Learning Programme Director (Enterprise and Outsource Services)

Jennie Marshall is an award winning learning professional (Winner of the 2016 Learning Performance Institute, Learning Professional of the Year Bronze Award), who joined QA in 2010 as a Learning Consultant in the Leadership, Management and Business Skills team. She has gone on to progress through various positions to her current role of Learning Programme Director where she now designs, develops and manages the delivery of end to end learning programmes. She is an experienced and dedicated learning professional, with expertise including management, leadership and talent, and training and facilitation developed within a variety of environments. Jennie has a proven track record of delivering blended, multi modal learning programmes using Learning Management System platforms and in a more traditional face to face setting, is at home with small and large audiences. She is a proven developer of people and is accredited in the use of a variety of tools including Strength Deployment Inventory®, Emergenetics®, Hogan®, Prism® and Worldsview™ as well as being an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner and Kirkpatrick Certified Professional (Bronze).
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