“I don’t have time for development for myself, how can I do it for my people.”
In 2008-2011 money was the number one reason I heard for not being able to develop people. Today, the most common reason I hear is time. Three thoughts on this:
Thought #1: If it is really important you will make time. If it is not you won’t.
As a parent I started to use the phrase “There are lots of reasons, but there are no excuses.” in response to teenagers in my life coming up with various excuses why things don’t get done. It helped me shift them from passing the blame with an excuse back to thinking about the reason something happened so we could have an Adult to Adult conversation around the importance of what was supposed to get done and what we could do to make that barrier (aka. reason) go away. It also helped remind me that these reasons are real for them and I cannot unilaterally fix them, but together we can probably figure it out if they will own the reasons and agree on the priorities.
There are lots of reasons for not sitting down for 30-45 minutes once a quarter with your people to focus on their growth, but no excuses – – if you really do care about their professional development.
Thought #2: Employees own their development. The organization owns support. (Note: As the leader, you represent the voice of the organization)
I recently talked to a leader struggling with the One-on-One template/meeting structure I share on my website. It was lots of work for him, and his people were not really engaged. As we talked, I learned he was filling out the form and owning the updating of it and the scheduling of the meeting. It was lots of work because he was doing their work. We are working on flipping the model.
Remember to encourage and support them. If they are not sure what their role is give them my whitepaper – 5 Tips for Owning Your Career and Development.
Thought #3: Beware of the Myth of Controlling your Time
In my book, I talk about how OBN (Ought But Not) Leaders have fallen for the illusion of control around time. Leaders need to make sure their TIME is focused on THEIR PRIORITIES and the ORGANIZATION’S PRIORITIES. It is not easy, but if you really believe investing in your people is a priority, then we can find the time. The tools are easy – read the HBR article Who’s Got the Monkey or read my trUTips on this and go to the special web page for additional resources to help you start owning your time. The work of change is not easy, but it is important and achievable.
The ironic think is that I made the statement that started this post. I believe Learning + Doing = Growth, so I am busy making my development a priority and finding time to make it happen. I have no excuses.