How can leaders get their team(s) to work on personal development?

1.8k views4 Upvotes13 Comments

Global CIO & CISO in Manufacturing, 201 - 500 employees
In 2020, I had been scheduling half-hour conversations with people to help them with their careers, among other things. I made time for that. When I pulled some metrics from my calendar, I found that I had done 466 half-hour sessions that year. I did 30 resume makeovers. I mentored 10 folks who needed help across the nonprofit groups that I participated in and I wrote five articles on mentoring and creative writing links. I carved out the time because while I need to work and make money, I also need to give back.

As leaders, the most important thing that we can do outside of making them aware is pushing our teams to make the time for these kinds of activities. If you want to be part of the DEI program, when's the meeting? Block off that time and make sure nobody books it. What are you doing on Fridays? Are you working on self-improvement, or learning for a special project? As leaders we have to keep pushing that.

There are times when you have to escalate and work a bit more, or do some work on weekends. But I tell my teams that if they see an email from me on the weekend, it's just because I want to CC them. It does not mean that I want them to action it, I just want to make sure they're aware. I schedule posts in Slack so that they get delivered at either 8 a.m. or 9 a.m., because I don't want my teams to know that I may be working at 10 p.m. or 2 a.m. I’m working at that time because I want to and I'm choosing to try to get ahead for whatever reason. I don't want my teams to suffer from having to work such long days that they don't have time to join a program, a presentation or take a course. It's so important.
Director of Engineering in Media, 10,001+ employees
We have introduced no meetings on Friday afternoon and use the time for learning and more.  Additionally we have brown bags, short trainings every month
IOT developer in Education, 11 - 50 employees
The best way for a team leader to develop relationships is through one-on-one sessions.
Additionally, they provide each team member the chance to argue for personal growth or bring up problems that prevent them from working at their highest potential.
Do your best to help your team members by paying attention to what they have to say.
Director of Engineering in Software, 10,001+ employees
Based on my experience we conduct 1:1 calls to develop a good bond between the leader and the team, We have set up a culture of no meetings on Fridays. We have quick meetings two weeks a month. We do have a portal where team members can give their feedback about personal development as well.
Director of Product/Engineering in Media, 501 - 1,000 employees
Allocate dedicated time for this, Friday is the best option (but not the last meeting on Friday, from experience) and it's best to do F2F.

Align expectations and try to set up (achievable) short term goals - later you can aim higher, but best to start with something. 
It should be very clear that this is not a work-related task with a deadline, but something that should benefit the personal development and serve the team member.
AVP Innovations & Product in Banking, 10,001+ employees
There is a development where there is a vision and a journey in mind. I plan to communicate and discuss the same with the team. Communicate the organizational journey and understand their personal vision, by understanding that I try to give them the assurance that their financial goal looks very much achievable in the organization provided certain changes are done and some targets are met. This creates a sense of confidence in them and their response towards any change becomes good. 

Once the above is done, I try to guide them on what can be done to improve the skills so that the quality of work improves. Inform them what are the skills I am adding, other peers are adding to their skillset etc. Any new articles, updates, innovations are shared with the team to educate them. 

Along with the above, there are continuous daily few minutes sessions to discuss work and personal life so that there is compassion.  
Director of Engineering in Media, 10,001+ employees
Firstly, the personal developmental needs to be incorporated in respective goal sheet of employees. Once that is done, it is good idea to compile similar development needs together, stratify, and assign workstreams. Identify workstream owners, define scope and success criteria. The leaders needs to support these work workstream through regular interactions, budgetary support, and review meetings.
Electrical Design Engineer in Energy and Utilities, 11 - 50 employees
Taking time for mental health days plays a big part in individual employee development. We have introduced half days on Fridays to help give employees more time to spend outside of the workplace and in turn has brought an uptick in overall efficiency and motivation. One on one sessions have also been implemented to help gain better overall understanding of subjects and helps to build a better bond between the leader and member. We have an open door policy that makes it easier for employees to voice their concerns and questions, and also helps to build a better relationship with others in the workplace. 
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We always set development goals each year.  I ensure we set some goals that can be achieved in the event all funding for training and development is reduced or cut completely.  Things like learning some aspect of technology and teaching the rest of the team (learning thru reading or vendor seminars)    A key for us is how to do development for zero cash outlay, as you cannot count on the training budget to be there.... it has disappeared in the past, and will again I am sure.    Set the development goals in their official HR goal plan, and then work with the employee to get started on them right away.  Development for the year should not be starting in November or December.  If it does, your development as a leader needs to be top priority.
VP of IT & CISPO in Finance (non-banking), 201 - 500 employees
We have set in our strategic planning a target structure with positions and levels clearly outlined for the department and created individual development plans for each employee to align to that vision 3 years from now.  This is a tangible and attainable structure that requires both structured and unstructured personal development. 

Teams respond well to this as they have a better idea of a) the vision for the department and their place in it.  While there are caveats around our planning a desire to reach a staggered development goal for everyone has been effective.  

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