Building A Strong Team Member

You now occupy a place of leadership because you are producing results. You can become even more effective by maintaining a training and development program that increases productivity in a work group. Productivity grows through an ongoing training and development program that helps people make maximum use of their potential.

A successful training and development program begins with your willingness to accept people and their skills as they are now and to build on them. If you did not hire the members in your group, their productivity level today is not your responsibility. The productivity level they reach tomorrow is your responsibility.

Before you can train and develop people, you must first know in detail all the tasks that must be done. Begin with a complete, up-to-date job description for every position you supervise. You may assume you know what each person does. But if you were unexpectedly required to write out a detailed job description for each individual, you might find yourself lacking important information. Consider Gary Allen, who has 15 years of service and is now ready to retire. You must replace Gary. When the personnel department asks, “What does he do?” chances are, you can mention only vaguely what Gary has done and say that he has performed “miscellaneous duties.” These miscellaneous duties may include dozens of tasks that Gary learned and perfected in 15 years’ time. If these responsibilities are not described specifically in detail, you will have difficulty training and developing a replacement.

When a replacement is hired, the new person may be unable to take over every facet of the job. At this point, flexible job descriptions give you room to figure out how to adjust responsibilities or coordinate several jobs to keep your work group operating at a high level of productivity. You may choose to transfer some of Gary’s responsibilities to other team members. When you know the details of all the positions in the department, you can reassign and prioritize responsibilities as needed.

Match team members to jobs. If you discover either through assessments or observation that certain individuals enjoy work that is repetitive and unchanging, assign them responsibilities that fulfill those individual needs. Individuals who are ambitious and eagerly looking for increased responsibility and higher compensation should be given responsibilities that offer those opportunities.

Enlist the help of team members in preparing adequate and complete job descriptions. Keep job descriptions up-to-date; periodically go over them to determine whether there is overlap or confusion of responsibilities. As people grow and develop new skills and abilities and as new people come into your group, review responsibilities and consider reassignments so that team members can always use their best skills and abilities.

Training and development brings you more benefits than any other responsibility you possess or activity you perform. The time you spend with this program, for example, has the potential to do more to improve your skills and your performance than any other comparable time period you will spend this year. The same principle applies to other people on your team and their training and development. When they learn new skills and new procedures, they are worth more to you and to the organization. When they recognize their improved productivity, they develop added self-confidence and new self-motivation.

The training and development of team members contributes some of these benefits, if not all of them – benefits that reflect favorably on your ability to achieve effective results:

  • Increased productivity
  • Higher quality product or service
  • Higher morale and more positive attitudes toward work
  • A more flexible team as a result of cross-training
  • Lowered employee turnover
  • Fewer team member complaints or other negatives
  • Better use of all resources
  • Higher goals among the team members and within the group
  • Greater job fulfillment and satisfaction

A program of training and development creates a more flexible and versatile work force. An effective program encourages the realization of more of the potential of each team member. Everyone gains greater satisfaction from their work and takes more pride in their product or service, or both, and in the organization. There is also a greater spirit of cooperation and a reduction of costs and increase in productivity. Begin now to accept the exciting challenge of developing more of the potential of your team members and of training them to assume some of your present responsibilities. This no-limits approach raises everyone to a higher level of expertise.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

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