How can you find opportunities for staff to grow?

Here’s another good question asked in my recent webinar, “Effectively Growing Your Key Talent: Are You Sunlight and Water — or Just Manure?” 

Q: How to find opportunities for employees to grow?

A: I would guess that there are opportunities all around you to help develop your staff.
Find out what each team member wants to develop and see how you can help them. There are many opportunities that don’t necessarily involve formal training or conferences. 
  • If he wants to develop his technical skills, suggest books, online courses, or cross-training with more senior staff members. You may be able to arrange mentoring even if it’s with someone outside your organization. 
  • If she wants to develop her management skills, ask her to help with some of your tasks. Maybe she could draft the first stab of a monthly report or other managerial duties. You know all those “I’ll get to those later tasks — see if she could start — and maybe finish — some of those.
  • If he wants to develop better leadership skills, like presentations, ask him to give brief talks at your staff meetings. Then give feedback afterwards. Suggest he go to a Toastmasters club, then find ways he can present internally. Have him put together a panel — with him on it or moderating — at a local association meeting for your profession.
  •  If she realizes she could improve her people skills, ask her to attend some intra-departmental meetings representing your group. Engage the meeting leader to help your staff develop in this area and request that s/he provides feedback to your staff based on her meeting behavior.
Of course, don’t overlook in-person on online courses, association meetings and conferences. But there’s a lot you can do to help your staff grow.