Part of the Blog Series: Leadership Principles for Young Professionals.
One of the biggest missteps leaders and organizations make today is the focus on individual training programs. In today’s “every man for himself” business world, the focus is on the expertise, knowledge and abilities of the individuals, rather than the expertise, knowledge, and abilities of the organization. When you train your people as a team, you bring teams of experts; you bring collective knowledge; you bring multiplied abilities to bear in accomplishing objectives; you bring a set standard that ensures organizational success.
So, how do young leaders train their people as a team, especially when they may not have established themselves as knowledgeable experts, yet?
My favorite methods are mastermind groups/group coaching sessions: Bring your team together and spend more time asking questions vs. feeling like you have to be the one with all the answers. Bring an agenda, identify a topic or challenge that your team recently encountered, or these eleven leadership principles, and have an open discussion that encourages true learning. Ask questions that drive the conversation deeper. Take notes yourself, because the great thing about these learning methods is that everyone learns including the facilitator, hence, training as a team. You learn more than just the subject at hand. You learn about each other, how one another thinks, what your team’s strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, and areas of reluctance. With all this knowledge, you are better equipped to “Employ Your People According to Their Capabilities.”
My other favorite is scenario-based training: Find creative ways to recreate real situations that your team will have to take on, like a project scenario, or a typical client or customer situation. You may even have case studies that you can use. If your schedules or operational demands don’t support the logistics for setting a scenario up, you can use scenarios in your masterminds or group coaching sessions. Place your people in different roles while conducting the training, including yourself. A friend of mine actually had an officer appreciation day in the Marines. He and his fellow officers left the unit for a day, and left the enlisted Marines in charge as the officers. They even informed the battalion headquarters that the official business of the day would be handled by the enlisted Marines. It was an excellent learning experience for everyone. The enlisted gained a new perspective on the demands on the officers, and how, in their daily operations, how they could make life easier on both themselves and the officers. In return, the officers gained knowledge of who was capable of stepping up and who required more training.
You don’t have to be the expert in the room in order to train your people. I was twenty three years old when I was required to train my Marines. There was a wealth of knowledge all around that I could tap into in order to train my Marines properly. After some time, I also developed my own thoughts and ideas that I implemented into training as well. The bottom line is that training your people is more important than you appearing to be the expert who conveys the knowledge. Just make sure they are trained as a team, so that collective knowledge, COMRADEry, and team work can be wielded in the efforts of increasing effectiveness.
This is the final principle of this series. I hope these leadership principles have added value to your personal growth as a leader, and will serve as a resource to you in the future.
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