When Covid crises strated in early 2020, my colleague Marija Švigir posted following question on LinkedIn:
„After 20+ years of working on the development of individuals and organizations, I feel confused …
… HR professionals & consultants… should we, now, put our focus on individuals, teams or organizations?!“
This question really triggered my thinking, and since then I use it as an inspiration to help myself and my clients with better understanding of personal responsibility and scope of our influence in business context.
Although priorities are important, I find even more important to understand domain of personal responsibility.
If something is not my responsibility than the question of priority is not so relevant.
Out of Marija’s initial question I rolled out 3 different responsibility focused questions:
- „Who is responsible for my development?“
- „Who is responsible for my team member development?“
- „Who is responsible for my team development?“
Interestingly, majority of managers I worked with see themselves as responsible for the development in all three categories! This way of thinking creates big pressure, especially for high achievers. There is big fuss about mental well being these days, with many different approaches and interesting techniques, but simple clarity about the domain of personal responsibility can make significant positive impact on it. So, let’s clarify them one by one…
My development is fully and completely my responsibility. Like professional athletes, each one of us rents our personal brand to the organization / team that we are currently playing for! I am the only one in charge of my career and implicitly of my development. Even when system / team, that I currently play for, doesn’t promote or support development, its my responsibility to invest in myself.
My development is completely under my control and it is always my first priority.
My Team Development
If I am a team leader, than my second responsibility from my perspective, and first responsibility from the system perspective, is team development. From perspective of the system (company / department) I am in charge for team as whole. Sometimes I will have stars in team, sometimes I will have rookies. My responsibility is to make the best team out of my current team members. Ideally, I should be in charge for selection of my team members (which is not always the cases).
Team Member Development
Here we come to one really interesting managerial topic – team member development!
There is one good thing about it and one bad thing about it.
The bad one is that my team member’s development is not under my control and the good one is that my team member’s development is not under my control! How can this be good and bad thing at the same time?
- It is bad as my results depend on people who are in charge of their own development.
- It is good as I can put focus on the things that are under my control and save my mental and life energy.
What is under my control?
Here we go back to where we started, my development is under my control, and as part of development I can work on my own inspiration and motivation. As team leader I am major influencer on the energy within my team.
I can’t make someone develop himself but I can actively work on creating environment in which people will start to take responsibility for their development. Beside active working on my development and taking care of my inspiration and motivation, I can:
- give regular development focused feedback,
- evaluate not just results but the way how the results are achieved,
- organize regular training / mentoring / coaching sessions with my team members,
- analyze and communicate to my team members correlation between results and strategies, skills and attitude that team members have.
So, how to proceed?
- First and the most important – Understand how you work by yourself. Take full responsibility for your development.
- Secondly, understand how you work with others. Connect with colleagues more effectively by understanding how to leverage similar and contrasting work styles.
- Understand how you and your colleagues work as part of a team. Ideally we should actively transform how we collaborate across boundaries in working groups to drive excellent performance.
“It’s in responsibility that most people find the meaning that sustains them through life. It’s not in happiness. It’s not in impulsive pleasure.” Jordan Peterson