Join Mike Figliuolo for an in-depth discussion in this video Building individual capabilities, part of Building High-Performance Teams.
Even though the members of your team might be high-performing, they can always achieve the next level of performance. And one of your biggest responsibilities as a leader is helping them identify the places they need to grow, and then giving them the opportunities to learn those skills. So as you think about an individual's development plan, there's some very clear steps that you can take to help them get to that next level. First, look at the skills that are required based on the competencies defined by that role.
So different roles require different sets of skills, and you should be able to document for each role what the set of skills is for somebody to perform well in that role. Once you have that competency profile, take a look at the individual's performance and assess how they're doing versus those required competencies. Now there are going to be gaps, and there are places where that individual has not yet achieved the level of mastery required in their role. Although, if you're managing a true high-performing team, sometimes you'll assess somebody versus those competencies and you'll find they're meeting all the expectations.
But that doesn't mean they're done. Your job as a leader is to look at the next level of performance that that individual can step into and say, at their current level they're fine and they're meeting all the competency requirements, but if I were to promote them or look at expanded responsibilities for that person, how would they stack up at that next level of performance? And you'll start seeing some of the competency gaps emerge there, so you can train them to build to the next level of skills. Once you've identified the gaps, you have to take a moment and understand, why does the gap exist? Is it that we've never trained this person on this skill? Is it they've never had an opportunity to demonstrate the skill? Once you have an understanding of why that gap exists, you need to sit down with that individual and discuss why they think the gap exists.
Help them understand where they currently perform, where you expect them to perform, and what that gap looks like in terms of actual demonstrable skills that you should be seeing every single day. Once you both have agreement on what the gap is and why it exists, you should document that agenda and lay it out as their individual development plan. And ask their commitment to filling those gaps because if somebody doesn't want to grow, no matter how hard you push them, they're not going to step into that next role.
By getting their commitment to that growth, they're going to be much more receptive to taking on additional responsibilities, going to additional training and working a little bit harder in areas they're not yet comfortable. Once those gaps are identified, this is a critical step, you'll need to sit down and identify, across the project portfolio that you have and the responsibilities of the team, identify specific projects or specific deliverables that the individual can take on as their responsibilities, where they're going to be able to start performing those tasks and building those skills.
So for example, if somebody has a gap in terms of their capabilities in Excel and in doing analysis, you may look at the requirements the team has and say, well we have to prepare this year's budget, and that budget needs to be done in Excel, and there's a lot of analysis that needs to be performed. So you may take that budget task and assign it to that individual so they can start doing the analysis and getting comfortable and familiar with what that skill looks like on a very tactical and operational basis.
The same holds true for project management or leading others or being more innovative. Take a look at that competency and say, well if I need you to be more innovative, we have some brainstorming that we need to do, and I'd like you to lead those sessions and come up with those ideas and pull the team together and generate our innovation agenda. In targeting their development towards specific projects, you give the individual two things. One is you give them real world experience performing the activity that they're not yet familiar with.
Second, you give them clarity and focus and help them link the competencies to actual behaviors so they can spend their time dedicated to filling that skill gap. So as you think about giving them a new project, my rule is they should be able to do 70 percent of that project very easily without a lot of effort. And that incremental 30 percent is where they're going to develop and learn and grow. So then assign those projects to the individual, map it back to the documented development plan, and then monitor them and provide feedback along the way.
Then document their growth over time, renew the gap-filling cycle of understanding, great, you've built these competencies, here's the next set of gaps we need to fill, here are the corresponding projects, and then you just continue with that cycle over time. And then hopefully by the time their annual review comes around, you can point to, here are the competencies that you were lacking at the beginning of the year, here are the projects you performed against, and here are the new competencies that you have. So your role as a leader in terms of developing others really boils down to understanding what the requirements are for their role from a competency standpoint, and then identifying those gaps and tying them to very specific projects.
And in doing so, that individual will see themselves grow over time.
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- Creating a compelling vision and mission for your team
- Understanding the resources your team needs to succeed
- Recruiting the right people
- Balancing workload
- Setting goals
- Empowering people
- Resolving conflict
- Building bench strength and succession plans<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.