professional development team sport

Professional development a team sport

Steve Kimmens leadership, Tools Leave a Comment

Struggling with engagement? Make professional development a team sport

Organisations understand the value of professional development. The focus is on individual development plans because of this approach, professional development is undermined.


Teams are at their best when everyone is helping each other to get better and progress. Make professional development work by making professional development a team sport.


Download our one pager that helps you as a leader make professional development a team sport using the insights from behavioural science.


Start of a new year provides a great opportunity to focus the team on professional development.


The new year gives leaders a great opportunity to reconnect with the team and make 2019 about them.

January provides a great chance for leaders to change this, to get the team more engaged.


You could do this at any moment, maybe it is when the individual development planning cycle starts for your organisation.


How to make professional development a team sport

The trick is to keep the process simple, and focus the team on sharing what they’re going to work on without over-committing themselves.

Step 1 – Check-in and explain

  • With each team member – explain that you want to get better at your job in 2019, you’d like everyone to have a go aswell (it isn’t compulsory).
  • Next week we’re going to have a 30 minute team meeting to chat about it. And…

Here’s the secret, BE VULNERABLE, share

  • …I’m working on X.
  • What you want to work on could be a strength, or something you want to get better at.

Step 2 – Run the team meeting

  • In the team meeting, remind everyone about the purpose, and share what you’re working on.
  • Ask everyone to share theirs.
  • If someone is stuck, you could suggest building connections across the organisation.
  • What is the first step everyone can take this month? Nothing too big, a simple first step that everyone can report back on next month.

Step 3 – Hold the team sessions monthly

  • You will need to keep up the regularity of the sessions.
  • Expect people not to have completed their step. This a new habit and may take time to stick.
  • Don’t be disheartened, you only need one or two people to stick to start building the momentum.


Using science to make professional development a team sport

Holding a regular team meeting creates a social norm that development matters to the team and we’re all going to try and work on it.


Social norms signal appropriate behaviour and are classed as behavioural expectations or rules within a group of people.

Dolan, P., Hallsworth, M., Halpern, D., King, D., & Vlaev, I. (2010). MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy. London, UK: Cabinet Office.

Making it stick will take time.

The focus needs to be on keeping each step, each month simple and clear (can I honestly say I did it or didn’t do it).


Download one page leader guide

Apply the professional development insights to your team with our guide.

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You may find this interesting…

development plan simple template

To make change happen you need very clear and simple first steps. We’ve developed a simple development plan that focuses on the first steps.

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