The R.E.E.D. Practices: How to Elevate Your Team Members’ Performance

Most leaders understand the importance of growing their team members to maximize their personal growth and organizational contribution. However, we’re often missing a piece to the puzzle…and sometimes more than one piece. The key is to understand the R.E.E.D. Practices to elevate the performance of your team members: Resource, Equip, Empower, and Develop.

Resource – Team members must be resourced with the right tools to do their job. These tools can include everything from equipment, to technology, to budgets. Imagine asking a pilot to do his job without an airplane. As ridiculous as that sounds, employees too often are asked to deliver exceptional results without the tools to make it possible. The practice of “resourcing” is the bare bones basics of preparing team members’ to win.

Equip – Every job has a specific set of technical skills necessary to see that job successfully executed. These skills might be related to operating equipment, using software, following specific processes, making sales, or any number of technical skills. These skills are essential to success and often describe what the employee was hired to do. When leaders practice “equipping,” they are training their team members with the foundational skills and knowledge to do their job.

Empower – Empowering is the permission-giving force that releases team members to carry out their role without being micro-managed. The practice of “empowering” gives people the authority to make decisions and the freedom to carry out responsibilities. When leaders don’t empower their teams, they find themselves doing their team members’ work for them. And what’s the point of that? If you’ve prepared your team, set them free to do their job.

Develop – This practice goes far beyond the technical skills of a job. It focuses on the development of the person and often includes skills such as leadership, time management, emotional intelligence, people skills, communication, strategic planning, leading change, growth planning, team recruitment and development, problem-solving, and more. These skills are crucial regardless of the leader’s specific role. When we move beyond solely equipping team members to actually developing them, we set them and the organization up for success. The practice of “developing” is often the difference-maker in achieving the highest levels of effectiveness and performance.

Two Observations:

When I reflect on these four practices, there are two observations that are important to consider:

  • These practice do not always follow a sequential order – In fact, I would suggest that the order is usually determined by the need of the moment. You can be empowered to do a job and later realize you don’t have certain technical skills to complete specific tasks successfully. As a result, continued on-the-job training may be critical. As technology advances, you will find yourself in need of new resources to upgrade your effectiveness. The truth is, the need of the moment dictates when a practice is most relevant.
  • Development is the easiest practice to neglect – The reasons for this are simple…it can be time intensive, doesn’t always deliver immediate results, and on the surface doesn’t always appear to be necessary. In fact, we can usually survive without development. But that’s the problem…who just wants to survive? It’s pretty unlikely you’ll reach your full potential without the practice of development. That’s where you’ll find your greatest opportunity and its the practice that usually adds the most value to your team members.

Questions: What other observations can you make about the R.E.E.D. practices? Which of the four practices do you need to improve with your team?