5 Ways to Build a Leadership Culture Without Breaking the Budget

Posted by Jenni Catron on Sep 15, 2021 12:04:17 PM

5 Ways to Build a Leadership Culture Without Breaking the Budget


The challenges of leading an effective team continue to mount.

  • High turnover.
  • Disengaged or distracted staff.
  • Inconsistent office rhythms.
  • Virtual work.

Our mechanisms for engaging staff are quite possibly more challenging than they have ever been. Therefore it requires greater leadership than ever before. 

While I would historically always argue for the importance of having an intentional leadership development plan for your staff. I believe the importance of this is even more critical given the workforce complexity we’re facing today. 

Some of the most common arguments I hear for not having a leadership development plan are:

“We don’t have the budget.” 

“We don’t have the time.”

“We don’t have the right people.” 

As I’ve faced my own leadership development with teams and as I’ve coached many leaders through the years, there is never a good time to invest in and commit to a leadership development process. 

We hope that we’ll eventually have the time or the budget or the personnel to devote to this initiative. The truth is there is never a perfect time to commit to making leadership development a priority. But every day you wait to invest in the development of your team is another day you lose to poor leadership, ineffective management and a misaligned team that is underperforming.  

Today I want to give you 5 ways to develop your team and 5 things you can do this week to get started. 


5 Ways to Develop Your Team

1. Commit to your 1:1 meetings.

If you’re frustrated with your team’s contribution, the first thing you should ask yourself is whether you are giving them adequate time to give them clear direction. The time you invest in your team is a multiplier.

If you can’t spend 30-60 minutes every week with each of your direct reports, you need to reconsider your commitments. As leaders, the most important contribution we make is how we invest in and develop those we lead. Our job is to facilitate work through others. If you find fulfillment more in the work you do rather than the work done through your teams, you are not thinking like a leader. 

Commit to 1:1 time with your team. It will create development conversations and will result in better communication and greater organizational alignment.

[By the way, we highly encourage you to check out what our friends at Leadr have created to help you better facilitate these meetings.]


2. Intentionally use staff meetings to develop your team.

Staff meetings are your opportunity as a leader to communicate to your entire team. It is your chance to cast vision and communicate your greatest priorities. Yes, there may be tactical details that need to be covered when the entire team is together but if your meetings are consumed by nuts and bolts, you’re missing an opportunity for development.

Similar to your 1:1 meetings, staff meetings should be one of the things you most look forward to each week rather than something you dread. If you’re dreading your staff meeting, it’s likely that you’re not using the time to strategically develop your team. 


3. Ask your team how they want to grow. 

Most team members want to grow, so invite them into the process. They want to be invested in and typically they have an expectation that their organization will invest in them. Being intentional with leadership development positions you to attract and retain the best talent, especially in a workplace environment that is growing increasingly more complex. 


4. Identify a leadership development champion.

Many small to medium size organizations don’t have the budget for a full-time leadership development role. Work around this by finding someone on your team who has a passion for leadership development and ask them to create a plan. Give them permission to spend 1-2 hours a week on this initiative. If it’s a passion point for them, the time invested in this will quickly be made up in the energy and momentum created from it. 


5. Start somewhere. Anywhere. Just start.

I’ve often heard leaders express that they want to do leadership development but they don’t know where to start. They are reluctant to start without a formal plan. While I’m the first one to say that a plan is good, sometimes waiting for the plan means we lose precious time. Leadership development doesn’t have to be overly complex. It starts with a commitment to developing your team and a willingness to make it a priority. 


5 Steps to Take This Week

  1. Review your calendar and prioritize your 1:1 meetings with your direct reports. Resist the temptation to reschedule or cancel these meetings. As part of your 1:1 meetings this week, devote 15 minutes to asking your team member where they feel stuck and how you can help them. 
  2. In your staff meeting this week, share something you’re learning as a leader and then discuss it as a team. 
  3. Also at staff meeting, indicate your desire to create more opportunities for leadership development and take 10 minutes to brainstorm ideas with everyone. Let them know you’re in the brainstorming stage so that you manage their expectations. Creating a leadership development culture will take time but let them know you’re taking some of the first steps.
  4. Schedule 30 minutes with someone on your team who has a passion for leadership development and request their help in building a leadership development plan for the staff. Ask them for their ideas and feedback and schedule a time for you to follow up on this conversation. 
  5. Choose a book, podcast, or article that has been helpful in your leadership journey and ask the staff to read or listen and be prepared to discuss in your next staff meeting. (If you’re reading a book together, you might assign a chapter per week and take 15 minutes in consecutive staff meetings to discuss a chapter.)


Here’s the thing… this doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. Just start. Invest in your team. Start conversations. Make it a priority. You’ll build momentum and you’ll get more sophisticated as time goes on. 

What one step will you commit to take this week?

We’re cheering you on!


Did you know that the 4Sight coaches can help you build your leadership development strategy? If all these ideas sound good but you still are struggling with getting started, schedule a free 30 minute coaching call with our team to help you analyze your needs and learn how we can help you build your plan.

Schedule a Free 30 Minute Call



Topics: Leadership, Culture, Leading Change, jenni catron, Extraordinary Leadership, Leadership Development, Tips

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