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If you are in a position of authority then you must be conscientious of two areas: ensuring a quality job (or upholding a directive) and training others to progress in the same field. Essentially, you might be teaching the person who may some day replace you. Is this a fair outlook? This is certainly a common fear among some authority figures that believe instituting such efficient systems could backfire and cause rapid changes in managerial structure. So what are the alternatives? For a leader to actually restrict information from his delegates in hope of securing his job? This would be a poor way of doing business, from a commercial point of view as well as a personal one. Commercially speaking, the company wants to listen to any new input and utilize all available experience. In creating an efficient machine, there would be no reason to deliberately hinder employee advancement as this would directly affect productivity and eventually profit. Personally speaking, it makes sense to train new staff members according to the same criteria that you would live by. When you teach by example and are helpful to new workers, they will remember this training in future years, considering you more of a personal mentor than just a boss. If you go out of your way to be unproductive, you probably won’t be in that position long or if you are self-employed, you won’t be in business long.

The Most Important Factor in Overseeing Progress

The single most important factor in overseeing progress is that of individuality. You cannot assume that delegation or training can be lazily standardized and yet simultaneously help an entire staff progress rapidly. Teaching involves taking an interest in people as individuals. Some people will progress faster than others, others slower, and still others will require special training because their perceptions are totally different from most of the other workers. Some staff will be particularly hard working, convergent thinkers. Others will be very good at “thinking outside the box.” The key is to identify the skills of each particular team member and then individually hone those skills until every worker progresses at a comfortable pace. It may also involve you identifying the weaknesses of some workers and coming up with ways to train them into becoming more efficient performers, or give those tasks to someone else who can be or is efficient at those tasks. Leverage people inherent skills.

For example, let’s say you are writing an evaluation of one of your favorite delegates. First, start by focusing on their positive characteristics. You would describe them as a steadfast worker. They always come in a few minutes early and volunteers whenever there is overtime. They are respectful and diligent in customer service. Now focus on some areas where the worker needs improvement. They often make mistakes in their reports. They have a tendency to alienate other co-workers. Some of their proposed ideas are out-of-sync with the rest of the office. Now that you have an understanding of this worker, personalize the training to match their personality and state of progress. Always focus on the positive, remembering that every institution and every staff member could benefit from self-improvement.

Helping Workers with Encouragement and Counsel

When it comes time for training, the ones you teach should be approached respectfully and with an attitude that encourages improvement. A new worker needs to feel confident that you believe he or she can accomplish the task ahead. Once a team member knows that you have this confidence, and that there is a network of information and assistance available, he or she will feel ready. Avoid babying new workers that are looking to advance. A team member will respect you if you tell them what to do, but he or she would much prefer it if you gave them an opportunity to showcase their talents.

What if a delegate that you trusted makes a big mistake? This calls for balance between playing educator and friend. If the worker does something wrong you owe it them and to the company to offer helpful criticism. Do not criticize the effort itself; try to explain why the decision was a mistake and how it negatively affected productivity. If you sense that the team member was pursuing the right direction or had a good intention, which is probably the case with most people, then thank them for it. After praising the effort put forth, make it clear why modifications will be needed. The objective of counseling should be to ensure that the subordinate understands the problem. Next, that he or she is helped back to a confident state and is ready to avoid making the same mistake in the future. One way to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes is creating procedures for everything being taught. Put all procedures in binders or store them electronically to recall when needed. This may take a bit more time up front but saves a ton of time in the short-term and long-term.

Employee training and delegating authority are part of overseeing a company’s progress. It is a golden opportunity to advance your interests while helping others grow into their professional roles. It is a great feeling to see others make progress with your training and mentoring and it makes everyone more effective and efficient which means people are more productive overall and that leads to goal achievement.

Get out of your own way. Achieve greater success and balance in life through accountability. When you work with The Accountability Coach™, you will be even more focused on the activities that put you in the highest probability position to achieve your goals so you can ultimately experience what is truly important to you in life. Anne Bachrach is the author of Excuses Don’t Count, Results Rule!, and Life Live with No Regrets; How the Choices we Make Impact Our Lives. www.AccountabilityCoach.com

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