Last weekend, my Managing for Dummies book arrived and I had some time to read the first chapter on Meeting the Management Challenge. One of the highlights of this chapter stated that managing others is basically teaching someone to do a task that you already know how to do.
Teaching Others What You Know
In a management position, when one wants a task completed through someone else (subordinate) a different set of skills is needed.
For instance, in my current position, I’ve mastered the technical skills that I need to perform my job on a daily basis. A large part of my position involves showing and advising others how to complete tasks I already know how to do.
One would think it would be pretty simple to teach others how to do a task done a hundred times before in the past.
However, one has to take themselves out of the equation when managing others. It’s not about you anymore. It is about your employees. Skills like strategic planning, organization, and patience is essential when guiding employees and helping them excel.
Keep It Simple
I’ve noticed in my own work what makes sense in my mind may not automatically resonate with someone else. For example, just last week I was teaching an employee how to use a computer program that I’ve used before many times in the past.
However, the associate became frustrated because this skill did not come as easily for her as it did for me. One of the ways I was able to eliminate the frustration aspect of this learning process for this associate was to simplify the steps needed to use this computer program and explain these steps in layman’s terms in a friendly, patient tone.
(It also doesn’t hurt to inject some humor throughout the learning process for associates to ease any insecurities.)
Whenever someone is in a position of leadership over someone, it’s easy to adopt a somewhat condescending tone when associates ask for help. Never look down on someone in judgment for asking questions, or wanting more clarifications on tasks.
If anything, it’s the employees who never ask questions that management should worry about.
By breaking down what started as a complex task into much simpler baby steps this initial frustration became a learning opportunity for the employee. They were able to add another skill to their tool belt now having learnt it.
A way that I found ease during this whole training process was I put myself in that employees’ shoes and I thought back to the time when I first had to learn this same computer program and imagined how frustrating and confusing for that employee it must have been.
Cover Photo: ABCN