Train the Trainer….what are the keys to being effective?

April 27, 2013 by  

Just because one knows how to do something does necessarily mean that we can teach it to someone else effectively. Let’s take a look at what would elements would be beneficial to become a successful teacher/mentor.

Education includes the activities of educating, instructing or imparting knowledge or skill.
If one is to be able to deliver training to others in a meaningful manner the first aspect that needs to be fully understood is how people learn. Most individuals are not verbal learners…rather they are visual or hands on learners. This must be taken into consideration when explaining concepts. You may have a clear picture in your mind of what you are talking about, however, the students may not have that visual without appropriate examples, pictures or extremely descriptive explanations. In fact the highest learning occurs when one is teaching someone else….so the more interactive teaching techniques you employ, the more retentive the learning will be.

Here are a few key elements to remember:

-Adults learn when they see a need
-Adults learn best when actively involved in their learning process
-Adults learn by trying things out (hands on learning)
Teach in small doses (less is more and it will be better remembered if you have not overwhelmed the learner with too much information at once)

More about learning:
Learning is multi-sensory, the more senses become involved, the better chance you have that they will keep the information presented (tell stories, give anecdotal examples of situations which illustrate your points)

Understanding has 3 levels: recognition or comprehension, recall (feedback & testing reinforces the material), & judgment (material can be applied in the appropriate situations)

We retain more if we have an existing base of knowledge in this field (meaning one can build on what we already know)
Get feedback (lets the instructor know that “aha” moments have occurred)

We retain approximately 10-15% of what we hear, but we retain almost 90% of what we say and do.  Make the learning experience as interactive as possible and have the students themselves come up with as much of the concept as they can; before adding your own pieces.

Finally: if you have fun teaching, your students will enjoy their learning experience and this will also help them to remember what they have been taught.

What Are the Traits of a Great Manager?

April 16, 2013 by  

Most of us can recognize a great manager, so why is it so hard to find one?
Almost everyone in business remembers that one special manager from their past who exemplifies the norm, commanded our respect, and treated us respectfully, even in the most difficult situations.

Here is a list of the 10 functional traits of a great manager:
1. Leadership: the culture of the team is set by the leader, if he/she is supportive, encouraging, acknowledging, decisive and competent; the team will be productive, goal oriented and engaged.
2. Delegation: the best leaders delegate the most…they choose the right person for the right job, then allow them to run with the ball, no micro-managing, just appropriate direction, time lines and support as necessary.
3. Competence: good managers exhibit expertise in their field, make productive decisions, and are open to outside the box thinking.
4. Set clear achievable goals: unrealistic expectations do not work for anyone, they only create frustration. A good manager guides his/her team members toward achievable milestones and reviews accomplishments and possible improvements with constructive criticism, support and encouragement.
5. Recognition: great managers acknowledge accomplishments, gives credit where credit is due…in this way, self starters are recognized for their efforts.
6. Active Listener: in order to get to know their team well and be able to lead them effectively, the manager must practice active listening…the key to the development and maintenance of good relationships.
7. Empathic: having the ability to “walk in another person’s shoes”, and to have insight into the thoughts, and reactions of others when facing change is key in today’s fast moving world of new technology. Empathy requires the suspension of judgment of another’s actions or reactions, while understanding them, and treating them with sensitivity, respect, and support.
8. Honesty: never lie to your team, trust is a most important aspect of good relationships and once it is broken, it is most difficult to repair. So be able to walk the walk and admit mistakes…it shows you are human!
9. Sense of Humor: life is way too short not to be able to laugh at ourselves…having some fun at work is a good idea, happy employees are usually more engaged and creative.
10. Keep your Cool: A great manager is an effective communicator and a composed individual, with a proven tolerance for ambiguity. He/she never loses their cool, and is able to correct the team members without emotional body language or comments.

Whole books have been written on this subject. Great managers must have the necessary technical skills; however they also must have excellent people skills.

Now that you understand the traits required in a great manager, perhaps it will not be so hard to find one.

6 Keys to an Effective Team

April 6, 2013 by  

Certainly forward looking, honest, competent, intelligent, and inspiring leadership are most important for an effective team. In addition the following elements would greatly contribute to the accomplishment of common goals with efficiency and harmony.

1. Open Communication: an environment conducive to collaborative approaches is essential to the establishment of trust, respect and rapport among team members. The leader sets the tone, however when everyone buys into this process conflict is reduced, productivity is increased and the happiness factor is enhanced for the entire team.
2. Clear Goals: give a team purpose. Working together to reach those goals provides a synergism toward high achievement.
3. Recognition: is the imperative to a satisfied team. Happiness in the workplace increases productivity, creates prides, and fosters high performance.
4. Decision Making Process: the leader must facilitate the process with focus, decisiveness, and motivation. Time lines need to be included, as well as specific assignments of responsibility.
5. Roles & Responsibilities: success will be determined by the skills set provided by the team members, so choosing the right people for the team is essential to accomplishing the desired outcomes.
6. Expectations: together, the leader and the team must outline the procedures, rules, structures and systems necessary for the team to benefit from the combined efforts of everyone’s skills. Everyone deserves to be heard and all approaches should be respectfully considered, supported and acknowledged.

Building and managing a team is a difficult job. Without support from everyone, especially the Leader, the team is likely to fail.