Do you want to do something that has immediate, as well as lasting benefits for one of your employees, your business and yourself at the same? Gotcha. You can’t resist can you?
I am talking about teaching somebody something. You can call this activity teaching, mentoring, training, educating, sharing or whatever. The important distinction here is that you are not just telling someone what to do. Teaching involves much more than shouting orders. In my view, effective teaching is the ultimate test of a business owner’s communications skills.
What you decide to teach is unlimited. A few examples might include:
- Demonstrating the technical know-how, processes and procedures in order to perform a specific task.
- Providing guidance, along with the empowerment, to resolve customer service issues.
- Teach the basics of supervision or management such as scheduling work production; supervising employees; or even working within a budget.
- Educating employees about important Human Resources related issues such as: How to interview prospective employees or sexual harassment avoidance training.
- As the business owner, it is critical that you communicate awareness of your values as they pertain to operating your business.
In a business setting, effective teaching includes:
- The basic information such as describing the task, when to do the task and how often to do the task.
Caution: If you stop here, you are just giving orders. So, let’s take it further so that some real teaching occurs.
- Communicate clearly why something needs to be learned.
- Communicate clearly how something should be accomplished.
- Communicate clearly what benefits accrue from accomplishing the task this way.
- Communicate clearly what the expected outcome will be.
A sampling of the benefits of effective teaching:
1. For the Employee
- Learning and then mastering the proper way to accomplish a task improves an employee’s self esteem and the feeling that they are making a valuable contribution to the business.
- Learning why a certain process, procedure or way of thinking is used in your business will empower employees. They could become your biggest “cheerleaders” or “champions”.
- The time you, as the business owner, invest in the training of your employees will not go unnoticed. Most employees will appreciate your interest and the opportunity to learn and possibly advance in your business.
2. For the Business
- Your investment in teaching will result in more knowledgeable employees. And knowledgeable employees are better employees
- Sharing your values with employees will help them to understand what makes you and your business successful. Once they understand this . . . they are much more likely to become team players.
- ROI. Yes, I said ROI (as in Return on Investment). Computing your ROI on teaching\training is difficult. But, I staunchly believe that an employee who is a loyal, motivated, knowledgeable team player will perform and make decisions that improve your bottom line.
3. For you, the Business Owner
- As I mentioned before, teaching is the ultimate test of a business owner’s communication skills. If you teach in an interactive setting, you will get many questions. Why do we do it this way? Why do you feel this is important? So this is what our customers really like about us? You will get many comments, too. I didn’t know we had to do it this way because of safety reasons. I didn’t know there were laws against doing this the other way. So this is why we are different than our competition. Believe, you will be thinking on your feet . . . and in some cases, re-thinking some of things you have been teaching.
- A willingness to teach and share knowledge shows real leadership and transparency on your part. Do not be surprised if your “students” become the teachers in the near future! Wouldn’t that be cool if your students started to spread your business gospel to other employees for you?
- Teaching or mentoring people is very rewarding. You are sharing you own unique knowledge and experience with someone. What could be more personal than that? It simply makes you feel good.
The thing that is so powerful about teaching . . . is that both the Student and the Teacher learn!
Mike Wilke is the President of River City CFO Services, Inc., a company that provides part-time CFO services to smaller organizations. http://www.rivercitycfo.com