One of the more challenging aspects of working remotely, whether due to an emergency or as a regular part of business, is figuring out how to develop the skills of your team.
The managers and leaders who are wading into remote management due to COVID-19 are finding it a struggle to keep their team growing while working away from the office.
Here are some suggestions we’ve found helpful in developing remote staff:
- Be intentional about identifying new opportunities for your team members. It’s important to influence them with your thoughts and encourage them to influence you with their thoughts about the kind of work they’d find fulfilling.
- As their manager, it’s important for you to identify the necessary opportunities for them to grow with the business (you’re influencing them) and then ask them to look for opportunities where they feel they could be a solution in helping the company reach their goals (they’re influencing you).
- You should always be on the lookout for opportunities for the people on your team to grow. You may find things on your to-do list that you can hand off that will be good for their development. See our recent post on Virtual Delegation for some specific steps you can take. (Think win-win!)
- Together, with your employee, create a development plan. Even creating a basic plan can be a big support.
- Where would they like to be in one year and how does this support the overall company goals?
- What skills do they currently have and what skills (or experience) do they need to develop?
- What actions will they take to get more experience and develop their skills?
- Spend regular 1:1 time walking through the skills/experience they’ll need to develop or use in a new way.
- If it’s a new skill, it might mean that you’ll either need to teach them the actual doing of the task, or you’ll need to invest in external training.
- If the development requires them to apply an existing skill to a new circumstance, be sure to check in and ask them to share with you any issues they bump into as they repurpose their skills.
- Remember, the goal is for them to learn to think in a new way and grow in their skills and experience. Resist “telling them” what to do; instead, encourage them to think aloud so that you can help them dissect the issue into actionable chunks.
This week, think about those employees who need to continue their growth so that you don’t lose them to boredom. Or, if you’re an employee and you know you’re capable of a bigger challenge, ask your manager what you can do to expand your skillset.