Professional development and leadership go hand in hand. That’s a core tenet of talent optimization — the discipline of hiring, managing and motivating people more effectively. It’s also a recurring theme within “The Science of Dream Teams,” a new book that offers deeper insights into how talent optimization can help business leaders drive engagement, productivity, and ultimately, happiness.
Good leaders know their own strengths and shortcomings, and they’re self-aware not only at the individual level, but about their team — and the work their team is doing. Building a dream team means promoting leadership at all levels.
When you’re invested in the engagement and development of every employee, from the individual contributors on up to the executive team, you’re better positioned to execute any strategy.
What does that look like in action? Here are three steps to supporting your team-building efforts through training and development:
1. Make your mission clear.
Does your company have mission and vision statements? Perhaps more importantly, can your employees clearly articulate the company’s mission?
Your mission explains not only why your company exists, but it also drives purpose. It should be an essential part of your training and onboarding process. Employees should have a clear understanding of the organization’s mission and goals, and how they play a role in achieving those goals.
A good mission is not just clearly articulated, but relatable. It needs to be a motivating force for your people. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself struggling to get aligned. And aligning your talent strategy with your business strategy is the top priority for any business hoping to optimize its talent, in order to win.
2. Understand the work to be done.
The next step in that alignment process is ensuring that your employees are well-suited for the work. This is where an understanding of behavioral data is key not only to the hiring process, but to the professional development of your employees.
Depending on the work you’re doing, your risk tolerance may vary. If you’re in healthcare, for example, you can’t afford to just loosely adhere to regulations and guidelines. So it’s imperative that you assemble a leadership team that not only balances each other behaviorally, but reflects the appropriate level of risk tolerance for the work and mission.
A startup, on the other hand, may benefit from more innovative behavioral styles. Whatever the case, if you don’t have clarity as to your people’s natural tendencies, you won’t be in a position to understand how aligned they are to your strategic initiatives.
3. Invest in development — and be transparent about it.
If you want to win long-term, you hire for potential. Hire people who are cultural and behavioral fits for the roles and goals you’ve set, and then invest in their growth. Consider the whole person — their head and their heart — rather than just the resume.
Set the tone early. Communicate your desire to invest in the growth of your new hires, whether through continued education, on-site training or day-to-day autonomy that allows them to attend conferences, webinars or other networking events.
Remember that people can manage projects and initiatives, too. Not everyone wants to be a people manager in the traditional sense, but that doesn’t mean they don’t possess strong leadership qualities.
Seek out the traits that make employees leaders in their own ways, and you’ll promote followership at every level. And in doing so, you’ll assemble teams with no weak links — teams that naturally balance themselves and fill gaps.