Project managers are well positioned to foster the development of team members. They know individual capabilities, work attitudes, and skill gaps through frequent direct contact and observation. They know the skills needed because of their project planning responsibility. In addition, project managers have a broader view than team members of corporate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats possibly because of the vision and planning meetings they are required to attend. Here are a few ways a PM can positively influence team member development:
- Make assignments designed to build skills through experience and opportunities to work closely with seasoned professionals.
- Ensure that in house or external training is consistent with career goals as well as project requirements
Use one-on-one feedback meetings to help employees make an honest assessment of their skills and improve understanding of the skills needed in current and potential positions
- Include career planning in performance reviews and create a career development plan with each individual
Offer development opportunities such as rotating work assignments, cross training, or special projects that have wide corporate interest
- Make sure the employee knows about company training and educational assistance programs.
Provide suggestions on courses or seminars that you found useful
- Work cooperatively with other project and program managers to recommend individuals for assignments that offer advancement opportunities or learning experience even if that means you will have to fill the project gap
Project managers who do team member development successfully (and enjoy it) are often those who were coached and mentored in their own career by senior managers with a vision of what their future could be. They appreciate the guidance, role modeling, and support they received in their career development and want to be part of helping others achieve.