Working in a collaborative environment offers a tremendous opportunity for personal development that goes well beyond accomplishing the objectives of the team. Managers, team leaders and other team members routinely share with each other what they have learned and coach colleagues on matters of knowledge, skills, process, and performance.
This pattern of learning, sharing and coaching allows us to recycle and recalibrate our own approaches for teamwork and productivity.
In the insightful post Learning Through Business Development, Ann Michael recognizes the presence of such a cycle in her consulting business.
Spending time getting to know the people, issues, and opportunities within a company is the only way I know to identify real needs and determine if the skills I offer (or represent through partners) can effectively address them.
I might talk with people in organizations several times before a potential engagement is even identified. I’ve always enjoyed this part of consulting.
But, it didn’t occur to me until recently just how valuable business development activities are as a learning experience. By building relationships and listening to leaders describe their companies and their aspirations, I become more knowledgeable and gain a broad and diverse view of my industry.
Similar to Ann’s experience as a consultant, team members must invest the time to get to know one another and to identify issues and opportunities for growth. Only then can we determine how best to support one another through knowledge sharing and coaching.
But it doesn’t end there!
By learning about other team members, we gain more information and insights to add to our resources for sharing and coaching. The experience of sharing and coaching, and the feedback we receive, adds even more to our learning.
And on it goes…
- Coaching to help others solve problems
- Three steps for building trust in teams and organizations
- Learning is a type of teamwork