If you are in any place of leadership, then you’ve had to train or retrain a team member. But, have you found that just because you tell someone how to do a task that it doesn’t mean that they will do it? Or if they can, they’re not very good at it?
As a leader, your team member’s success is primarily on your shoulders since they are a reflection of how well you lead. One of the keys to leadership is equipping those you lead with the skills and resources to complete their assigned tasks with skill and success. The good news is that you don’t need an overly complicated training plan to put your team members on the path to success.
During my time as a door-to-door commercial electricity sales manager, I used a training process that was short and efficient to train my people. We also did on-going training to sharpen and improve skills, but, initially, I had to get my people started on the right track if I had any hope of them being successful in the long-term.
What I want to share with you will work if you’re training brand new people or retraining people to be better at what they’re already doing. It is a simple, 4 step process. All of these steps are from the perspective of the trainer/leader.
1. I do. You watch.
When I was a club soccer coach, the instructors at all of my certification clinics would stress how important it was to “paint a picture”. People, especially new people, need to see great examples how to do the task that is being asked of them. Seeing it done correctly repeatedly will do a lot to help them gain an understanding of the effort, skills, and character required to complete the task successfully or better if you’re retraining.
2. We do together.
At my current job as an insurance agent, I’m very fortunate to have my father as my mentor/trainer. One of the ways he trained me early on and continues to train me is by taking me on prospect visits or going with me to mine. Either way allows me to get better by partnering with someone with much more experience and a proven record of success.
3. You do. I watch.
At this point, you have shown them how to the task correctly, walked beside them as they did the task, now it’s time to let them take the controls, but with you as the copilot. Think of yourself as a safety net in the event of a mistake and resource to continue filling in knowledge gaps.
It is vitally important that the person you’re training do most of the work at this step, because it can be a huge confidence booster for them and an equally huge success for you. How? Because early success, especially for new people, can be a determining factor on their longevity with your organization. Turnover not only costs you and your organization more money but also reflects poorly on your leadership.
4. You do. I’m gone.
This is the equivalent of the baby bird leaving the nest. This is another key confidence moment for the person you trained. Hopefully, steps 1 through 3 have gone well and the person completes the task with no or minimal help.
One point of clarification, this does not mean that you do not check in with them at the end of their task. It is perfectly acceptable to “inspect what you expect”, but only do it at the end of the task or you run the risk of coming off as a micro-manager that doesn’t trust your team members. You’ll have to find the line between micro-managing and being supportive based on your leadership style and the personality style of your team member.
This process can be made to fit any time-table needed; one day, one week, one month, or even one year. This is largely depending on task you are asking your people to do. Point being, this is the fastest way to train anybody without sacrificing effectiveness.
The beautiful thing about it is that you can reuse it at any point to get people to be better at what they’re already doing or if you’re needing to add a task to a senior team member with lots of experience. But maybe they don’t have that experience in the area you need them to work in.
This can also work for you if you are trying to train yourself to do something new or to improve what you’re doing now.
The best way to evaluate your training practices are to think what you would want if you were the one being trained for this task.
[reminder]Think of a time when you were being trained. What made the biggest impact on your success?[/reminder]