• Lighthorne Partners

5 Tips to Improve Your Team's Skills - Fast

For small- and medium-sized business, spending on training can take a sizeable chunk out of your profit. During the Covid-19 crisis you may have stopped spend on training altogether. But what about the training your team has already had? How can you make sure they are

  • Using their new skills,

  • Becoming increasingly proficient, and

  • Improving business performance and results?

Leaders who understand the 10-20-70 rule can help their team members quickly achieve mastery of new skills and boost results. Here’s what the rule says:

When people develop a new skill, learning and proficiency come from three sources:

  • 10% comes from formal training or education including online courses

  • 20% comes from social learning – learning from each other

  • 70% comes from hands on experience – using the new skills every day

As a leader, you have a direct effect on whether team members ever gain the most from hands on experience and how quickly they master new skills. The more flexible your leadership behaviours, the farther and faster your team will grow.

Here are 5 tips to help you.

1. Agree tasks with team members where they must use their new skills. Be clear about how you expect them to use the new skills. Describe in detail what good looks like. Agree what help you’ll give them and how often you’ll review progress together.

2. Hold regular progress meetings. Meetings should be short and frequent to begin with so you can quickly praise and reinforce when they’ve done it right - and redirect them before it all goes pear shaped if they are doing it wrong. As they improve you adapt your leadership style, becoming more supportive rather than telling them what to do. You will reduce the frequency of review meetings.

3. Reinforce good use of the new skills and redirect them when they get it wrong. It’s so important to keep motivation high when people are learning a new skill. If you reinforce and praise success, they’ll know that you’ve noticed them getting it right. Redirecting means they know you've got their back and won't let them fail; they might wobble but they won’t fall off a cliff, which gives them the security and confidence to keep trying until they nail it.

4. Keep adapting your leadership style until you have completely delegated the task. Challenge is core to growth. As team members become more skilled, give them more room to perform and let them handle more complex situations – those where a higher level of skill is needed. You still need to give them some support but they’re much more likely to want to figure it out for themselves.

5. Give them responsibility for their own problem solving around using the skill. If you follow the previous steps, two things happen: your team members increase their proficiency AND they become more confident. They’ll want to apply their skills to more and more challenging situations – and they won’t want you looking over their shoulder (and you won’t want to, either). Let them fly!

By adapting your leadership style you will have created super-motivated and productive team members. They'll have the big 3 motivators:

  1. Purpose – they’ll know exactly what results their new skills are producing

  2. Mastery – they’ll have mastered the new skill and be applying it to full effect

  3. Autonomy – they’ll be completing tasks under their own guidance

It’s true that you must invest some of your time in helping your team members become more skilled. But this investment returns high levels of compound interest – it’s one of the highest leverage uses of your time.

Or, as Jim Rohn puts it, “you’d better be good at either sowing in the spring or begging in the autumn.”


Lighthorne Partners has teamed up with leadership development specialists Junge International to offer you their unique Commercial Leadership Assessment and Coaching program.

You'll learn all about your current leadership style and find out what simple changes will help you become even more effective.

Take the first step to improving your leadership. Visit www.junge-international.com.

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