Early in my career, I learned the power of professional development when my manager encouraged me to participate in various skill-enhancing opportunities. Soon, I began to ask myself, “What do you want to learn this year?” Like a kid in a candy store, I’d peruse the training catalog until I found something that piqued my interest.
However, when I became a people leader, I realized there was something I could improve on: I did not intentionally ask team members to consider training as an essential component of their professional development. While several of my team members took advantage of professional development opportunities, many did not.
Leaders are responsible for identifying strategies to empower their teams–collectively and individually. After all, professional development will support building a strong team culture, which leads to greater productivity and results. Below are four questions that will assist you in choosing the best professional development options for your team members.
What Do You Need Your Team To Know?
It is not uncommon for leaders to expect their associates to be experts. Instead, we should view our team members as professionals who need further development. Here’s why: professionals who are constantly learning are constantly growing. For your team to be effective, they must be knowledgeable of:
- Company policies
- Current industry trends
- Processes and systems
When you encourage and assign training, your support develops a team culture that promotes professional growth.
How Will Training Opportunities Support A Strong Workplace Culture?
Team training presents everyone with the opportunity to bond. Team training will provide shared experiences and memories between team members.
Team professional development is essential to use when:
- Developing a strategy to solve a problem
- Facilitating a quarterly meeting
- Launching a new initiative
When I lead a workshop or problem-solving session, I always begin with engaging training that sets expectations for team participation. If you provide team training, always think of how this opportunity will enhance your team and its productivity.
What Training Do Your Team Members Want To Attend?
Just as my manager asked me, “What training do you need?” so long ago, ask your team members for feedback. Asking your team what professional development they would like to attend, you are:
- Creating a team culture based on trust
- Empowering staff members to recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
- Placing some autonomy in the hands of individuals to consider how they can evolve
Will Training Truly Support My Team’s Development?
Confession: I took several courses in Excel and Access before realizing that I genuinely had no interest in using these tools professionally. As a leader, it is your responsibility to determine what professional development will support your team–individually and collectively. You will consistently need to decide:
- How does this support a team member who is struggling?
- How is the professional development opportunity aligned with your team member’s strengths?
- What is the significance of the training opportunity?
Always be open and honest with your team about your expectations. If you believe that professional development opportunities are not genuinely building your team culture, it’s time to regroup and consider the needs of your team. However, if your team is growing in their development as a result of these opportunities, keep encouraging participation.
Holloway Consulting Group is an Atlanta-based firm helping corporate technology teams all over the world set goals, create plans, and solve complex problems. We aim to service organizations through our training, coaching, and project management programs. Visit our website to schedule a call with our team today!