Individual Development

Be inspirational

Individual development sounds neutral, but for those involved it typically is not. Some members of organisations have been told their performance is below par. Others know they are doing as expected, whereas some were reassured they can expect promotion. How we communicate about development often determines whether or not it inspires.

The one you need to help

Assuming all want to do well and want to put in a reasonable amount of effort and time, those that operated below par probably tried to correct their performance, but clearly without success. It is likely their manager has indicated things have to change, but the message was unclear to them, it typically did not contain what was required to improve.

Individual development for such people is often practical and hands-on, showing them what they do today, what the consequences are, and how they could do this differently with far more success. This is field coaching. Those guiding them do need to invest time, which in many cases is time well spent.

Once this happens, the individual is easily convinced and is likely to be highly motivated to continue doing what he or she learned.

The one you need to inspire

Those that perform as expected may have ambitions beyond their current role, or not. If they do not, it is important to highlight why the individual development path is important and why they have to adhere. In most cases this will be required to maintain their level of performance. Whoever guides these people has to ensure the effort is not perceived as “over the top”.

The one you need to convince

Top achievers can probably develop rather less within their current area of activity, but focus their development on what might be next. In some cases top achievers do extremely well in most areas, but are actually poor in one or two areas that are not unimportant. Overall, their drive and ambition camouflages the effect of the areas of underperformance. Moreover, these individuals may not like to discuss them. It is important they are discussed and clarified in order to limit the drawbacks they may have, and if possible to go beyond that.

Training sessions, mentoring sessions, or coaching sessions can help greatly in realising these approaches. The training sessions might be group sessions, individual sessions or self-study, including e-Learning. What works best depends on the culture of the organisation and the drive of the person.

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