Leaders are resourceful – this should not be confused with full of resources. Often it is our ingenuity, creativity, tenacity or even our stubbornness that enables us to accomplish what other might perceive to be impossible. Today’s Challenge question is from a leader who is not “full of resources.” Her budget for developing people is extremely low – what should she do?

As I read the message from the leader who submitted this question, I could feel her pain. We’ve all had situations in which we felt our hands were tied for one reason or another. However, a lack of resources should not be a huge barrier to helping others grow – even though it may require you to rethink your approach.

Here are a few ideas for helping people grow on a shoestring budget…

Real responsibility – I had the privilege to have breakfast with Steven Covey many years ago. During our conversation, someone asked him, “What’s the best way to help a leader grow?” Without hesitation Covey said, “Give them real responsibility.” The weight of ownership is a powerful catalyst for growth.

Stretch assignments – Most of what we learn about leadership will ultimately be from leading. If you want someone to grow, consider giving him or her a challenging assignment. Perhaps a startup project, maybe a turnaround situation, or an international assignment – the options are unlimited.

Mentors – Time with other leaders or subject matter experts could be one of the best opportunities you could provide for someone who needs some targeted development. What do you want the person to learn? Be specific. Then, think about leaders you know, inside your organization and outside. Make the introduction on their behalf. Helping someone establish a strategic relationship, or two, can accelerate growth.

Coaching – A low (no cost) way to add value to someone’s life is to provide real time coaching. This does require some intentionality on the part of the leader, and this approach will demand some time, but it can pay huge dividends. Identify the areas where growth is desired, pay attention and coach.

My final bit of advice: Don’t fall prey to the myth: expensive equals effective. Focused energy and effort can help people grow without a large budget.[GLS_Shield]

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Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.