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  • Writer's pictureColleen Nelson

Growing Competence to Evolve

Our work is ever evolving. Technology has put the rate of evolution into high gear. This can pose a problem for people who are not constantly learning and adapting to the fast-paced work world. As a leader helping your team develop is a critical component to brining continuity to business results. Growing competence in a team requires assessing existing skill level, creating a culture around learning, and building confidence within the team.

Assessing Skill Level

This is an activity Human Resource departments have managers do annually, semi-annually, or even quarterly for the individuals in a team. You can likely point out the novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert in business acumen within your team. While that is critical to performing the day-to-day tasks, I recommend using these HR milestones to also assess coachability, readiness for change, and comfort with technology. I also recommend making this assessment at the team level not just the individual level.

Preparing a team for the next evolution in the way they do their work requires them to be comfortable with technology and ready to be coached through change. For some this takes more of an investment in their manager’s time. For some team members they may do better working with a peer rather than the manager. Understanding how the members of your teamwork through change and how they can help one another will ensure the whole team’s success.

Creating a Learning Culture

This goes beyond the required training sessions needed each year for compliance, policy refresh, or learning hours for your field. Creating a team that has embraced a learning culture feel comfortable being vulnerable with one another. A team with a culture for learning will share ideas with one another. Here are some ways to build that culture amongst a team:

  1. As a manager give coaching feedback in one on ones. This is important for all members of the team, including the top performers.

  2. Encourage team members to share lessons learned. Whether it’s from a project or day to day activities ask employees something they have learned.

  3. Create group learning opportunities. This can be in a team learning, a lunch and learn, or even a special meeting. Bring the team together to learn something new.

  4. Create teaching opportunities. When you identify something a team member has learned that could benefit the group, give them an opportunity to share it with their peers. This can be done formally or informally.

By creating a culture around learning you plant the seed in your team to have a growth mindset. Learning and growing are a healthy, and in some cases less scary form of change. This also creates a platform for a steady increase in growing competence.

Building Confidence

When people are stressed or uncomfortable, they are not in the best fram

e of mind to learn. Building confidence in your teammates ability to evolve is important. You can do this through reviewing previous accomplishments. Use examples that showcase where the employee had to learn something new. It can also help to reference hobbies they have outside of work. Talking through past experiences, inside and outside of work, where an employee has already had success in growing their competence lays a foundation to build their confidence.

Another way to ease stress and create a sense of comfort is to create a community for learning and allow some mentorship. When people can work with someone, they admire they can be more open to feedback and learning. This may be a mentoring relationship within your team based on the skill levels we discussed earlier or by working with a team in another department.

Growing competence in a team is a form of change. Creating a growth mindset within a team starts with skill level, a learning culture and building confidence. As a manager you will also have to be committed to the process. You can demonstrate this commitment by allowing them opportunities to repeat practice in the competence they are trying to grow. Encourage them to set goals in their review process. Consider your goals for the collective team.

There will still be times where work evolves quicker than you anticipated. But, by incorporating these attributes in your team you will find they are ready for the quicker pace. Teams with a growth mindset are not only more adaptable but have a stronger foundation to keep business results on par during times of uncertainty. Their core competencies are strong enough to withstand the turbulence. They will be able to stay focused and work through any challenge.

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