When I was working out last night, I was wishing I could hire a personal trainer. Someone to just give me some pointers and tips. I do ok. I have a routine, I am fairly fit and flexible, but would love some fine tuning to take it to the next level. It got me thinking about how leaders need constant fine tuning too and should always be looking for help with that.
Nothing ever stays the same in this world and while you may be a great leader, there is always fine tuning that can happen as you are faced with challenges and change. That is were training and support comes in. Consider what you are doing to learn and grow.
First, formal training. You may look at courses to advance your post secondary education. It doesn't mean you have to complete your degree in two years, it means that you have a focus and an intent to work towards growing and learning, one step at a time. It could be workshops and training in your community. Other agencies and organizations regularly offer training. If you aren't finding something that meets your needs, create it yourself. See if your organization will sponsor training. Partner with others who are like minded to put training on together. Apply for funding to support it. Don't take the easy way out and say, there's nothing I want to take.
Next, read, read, read. There are tons of books, articles and websites on leadership, management and supervision. Use them! Set aside time daily or weekly to get your fill of best practices. Find an area that especially interests you and research that for a while. It might be mindful leadership, strengths based leadership or appreciative inquiry. Check them out and read. Just like you need to schedule time in to physically workout each week, you need to schedule time in to train your mind as well. Check out my reading list for some book ideas.
Finally, ask for help. There are many people who can give you pointers, supervision, coaching and mentoring. While taking courses and reading are hugely helpful, applying what you've learned can sometimes be the tricky part. I know "how" to do a proper crunchy, but boy would I love someone with expertise in fitness to watch me and give me tips of how to do it better! We make up this story often that says if I ask for help I look weak, incompetent and unfit for the postion. In reality what it really means is that you striving to be the best in the field and you will be admired for that.
As for me, maybe I should ask my brother-in-law the bodybuilder for pointers!
My son started a new job this week. He will be in training for four week and the same individual will train him for the entire time. My son is not overly impressed. It led me to have a conversation with my husband about orientating new employees. Over the years in our respective jobs, the two of us have trained countless employees. The biggest tip I have for leaders is to share the load.
Orienting new employees is critical for the success of an organization. This sets the stage for their employment journey and lays the foundation for how they work, what they learn and how they find the answers to things they don’t know. The orientation period introduces a new employee to the culture of an organization. They figure out what the official policy and procedures are and quite frankly they quickly figure out the unwritten rules of the organization like how long the breaks really are, who really runs the show and what the overall work ethic of the team is.
The orientation period is a time for you to get a sense of this new employees capability, their learning styles and work ethic. You will be able to determine if they are going to fit into your team and if you want to keep them. You will identify where their strengths and passions are and where you will need to focus more.
Don’t leave this all up to one person. Have different staff, supervisors, peers and yes, even subordinates spend some time involved in the orientation. The new employees will discover the benefit of seeing things from a variety of perspectives and styles. It will give them a better understanding of why things are done the way they are and potentially give you an objective “outside” perspective that may help you to refine some of your systems.
Individuals have different learning styles. Some are more visual, others auditory or kinesthetic. Likewise, teachers have different teaching styles. A new employee may pick up things from different people orienting them in different ways. One teacher may say this is how we do this. Another may show them and a third may have the new employee do it themselves with guidance. Each time the new employee is allowed to receive the information in different ways and through much needed repetition without driving the teacher nuts but saying it again and again.
By sharing the load of orienting new employees you provide a strong base for the new employee to start their career with your organization. Having different teaches gives both the new employee and the organization benefits of variety, flexibility and insight. Next time you are orienting a new staff, look around your team and see who you can creatively pull into the orientation process. You will be glad you did.
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