Most managers realize training is essential for a team to be effective and successful. Just because your team is made up of talented individuals is no guarantee of success. Team performance is as critical as individual talent.
For the best results, you have to understand team members’ individual needs, as well as the overall team dynamics. Some training needs will apply to many or all of your team; some won’t. So how do you avoid wasting time and money on unnecessary training?
Does One Size Fit All?
Everyone on your team is unique. They all have different skills, levels of understanding, responsibilities, and perspectives. So your training should NOT follow a “one size fits all” approach. Instead, take the time to understand the training that each individual needs. Then you can provide the right training for the right people. This improves performance and saves time, resources, and money. Plus, you’ll earn dividends because employees will feel valued and that you are concerned about their professional development needs, which increases engagement.
Five Steps to Success
Follow these steps to better understand your team’s training needs.
- Review job descriptions.
What work should your team members be doing? What are their responsibilities and objectives? You can find this information in the job description for each position. Identify the skills they need to do a good job.
Tip: Sometimes job descriptions fall out of date. Be sure they’re current and line up with what the team members actually do.
2. Meet with team members.
Have a one-on-one meeting with each member of your team. Find out what kind of training and development they think they need to work effectively.
They might not think they need any training. You’ll have to use good questioning techniques and active listening skills to communicate with sensitivity and respect. Here are some sample questions to get you started:
- What are some challenges you face daily?
- What do you find most frustrating about your job?
- What areas of your job, or the company, do you wish you knew more about?
- What skills would help you be more productive and effective?
Then ask them what outcomes they’d like to achieve. Discuss how these goals align with the team’s objective(s).
3. Observe team members at work.
See how team members do with key tasks. If they could be quicker or if they’re procrastinating on projects, they might not be confident in their skills. This gives you a clue about what additional training they may need.
4. See how team members interact with others.
If team members don’t communicate well and cooperate, team performance suffers. Conflict between team members can undermine the team’s success.
5. Determine action steps.
Once you have an idea of the training and development each team member needs, as well as the overall team training needed, decide how you’ll make it happen. There are many options available, such as on-the-job training, instructor-led training, and technology-based training such as e-learning and video training. Make sure you choose a method or methods that will give you the best return on your investment.
Who Has Time For All That?
If you don’t have the time or inclination to work through these steps, there are assessment tools available to help with team development. Be selective; you want a tool that will help you build stronger teams and optimize team performance.
Look for an assessment that does the following:
- Creates effective interactions to enhance team performance
- Reveals the strengths and challenges of a team including team decision-making potential
- Identifies the best roles for team members
- Assesses the potential for cooperation or conflict
- Establishes clear guidelines for effective interactions
- Reveals blind spots that may undermine performance
- Facilitates team self-discovery to accelerate the team performance process
What’s your greatest team-building challenge? Tell me in the comments section.