How to Spot Surprising Opportunities to Develop Team Members

Trying to fix someone is insulting to them and arrogant of you. Development is a partnership, not a dictatorship. But the trouble is…

You don’t always have the luxury of waiting for people to wake up to shortcoming they don’t see and weaknesses they won’t acknowledge.

7 surprising opportunities for development:

Successful leaders watch for opportunities to develop talent.

  1. Technical people who lack social/relational skills.
  2. Socially adept individuals who lack leadership/management skills.
  3. Good employees who aspire to make greater contributions.
  4. Passionate, but misdirected people. Some people work too hard and accomplish too little.
  5. Newly disengaged teammates.
  6. Newly promoted people, along with Individuals and teams facing new challenges.
  7. Out of balance employees who might learn about priorities and values.

If time allows, let others struggle and suffer until they ask for help. Intervene, when time doesn’t allow.

7 development techniques:

  1. Go on a journey with them. Developing others requires a relationship of trust.
  2. Explain that people change themselves. You won’t change others and you can’t help without permission.
  3. Perform a narrative 360 degree evaluation. When people don’t see themselves, they need to see how others see them.
  4. Inspire confidence by demonstrating confidentiality, consistency, and respect.
  5. Explore, identify, and challenge them to take a first step. Development is about taking action, not simply learning theories.
  6. Ask how we can create a win.
  7. Describe benefit – development is the path to effectiveness, respect, and promotion.


Reject perfectionism. Build an environment where team members feel safe to grow. Great managers don’t change people. They create environments where people change themselves.

How can you tell when opportunities to develop talent occur?

What techniques might leaders employ to develop team members?