Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Maximizing team talent, part of Managing Teams.
Every leader faces a similar reality. There's the talent and skills we dream of having on the team. And then there's the actual talent and skill present on the team. Your task becomes one of maximizing what you can accomplish with your current players while planning long term ways to improve yourself and your team. To assess the current state of your team's talent, I want you to think through four key issues. First, what is the state of the company? Is it growing and healthy, or struggling and shrinking? What about the specific product or service line your team supports? This all affects what you can expect in terms of changes, up or down, to your team's budget.
Next, what does your boss think about your team? You are only one of several competing priorities for your boss. Have you built a dialogue that will allow you to more effectively lobby for new or different talent on your team? And what about Human Resources? What are the policies coming out of HR regarding hiring at your organization. If the composition of your team is to change in any way, HR will be involved. So staying close to HR and informed about what they are up to will always be beneficial.
Finally, your good rapport with your team will allow you insight to changes they might desire or intend to make. Such as accepting a new job outside of the group, taking time off to have children or a change in status to allow for educational pursuits. Aside from staying on top of all of these issues. There are three additional areas of activity I want you to consider in terms of assessing team talent. They are, employee development plans. You group's training and development plan. And your personal succession plan. We'll briefly discuss each one.
First the employee development plan. This is an extension of the discussion and documentation begun as a part of the employee evaluation process. Whereas that discussion is focused squarely on the next performance period. Now we wish to think more long term. Sometimes development plans are formally submitted and become part of the personnel file. Other times, they are encouraged but treated informally as a reference point for coaching and mentoring discussions. Either way, you can prepare the employee by asking thought provoking questions, such as.
What aspects of your job do you like least or the best? How can I help you do a better job? Are there changes required in your current job? Where do you see yourself in five years? What activities would help you develop professionally? The development plan helps the employee clarify a long term path. A map for long range developmental needs and goals. In short, it begins to define a bigger picture for their advancement within the organization. It's worth noting that companies who engage employees in these types of discussions, often retain talent better. This is because they are clearly signalling to the employees, their willingness and ability to invest in their success, over the long haul. With a good understanding of the state of the company, your bosses thoughts, the mood in HR and with the knowledge of your employees development plans you're now able to create an overall training and development plan for your team. Training can play a great role in creating new skills and polishing existing skills.
Your task is to solicit desired training options from you employees. You will combine that with what you believe they need, to create a training plan that covers the people, the topics, the budget, and the timing, for all training activities for the year. Of course, there are many forms of training, from online instruction to classroom instruction to applied activities in the field. Here's the best advice. Do your homework, and choose the best resource you can afford. Don't choose the cheapest option. You really do get what you pay for.
Finally, a long term view of talent in your group includes you and your professional aspirations. You need a succession plan. This is not a formal document for your personnel file. It's just for you, but it might be more important than any formal document. The succession plan is your effort to develop and identify talent that can conserve to back fill you should you be promoted. First, this is the right thing to do for the group. Always try to leave them better than you found them. Second, this is often required for you to be promoted so that the leaders above you have confidence that your team will succeed without you.
Talent must be managed, just like any asset. Sometimes you will have control over staffing and hiring, and sometimes you will not. Either way, assess and develop the talent on your team by knowing the environment around you. Encourage solid development plans. Create a clear training plan, and of course, think through your own personal succession plan.
- Building initial rapport
- Signaling fairness and integrity
- Communicating proactively
- Facilitating efficient meetings
- Using your authority effectively