Lead by Example

lead by example

“Are the managers going through this training?”

There it is, the question I knew would be asked sooner or later. It always comes up.

Let’s suppose you have some skill session that you want all frontline employees to attend. You and your fellow managers are already competent in this particular skill. Do you ask the managers to attend again?

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When I’ve been asked this question as a trainer and I’m not able to respond with a definitive “YES,” I am met with eye rolls, heavy sighs, and some pretty direct statements about not walking the talk. So much for creating a positive learning environment.

There are plenty of times when employees should be learning skills that the managers have already mastered. And when that is the case, it would seem reasonable that you don’t waste your managers time by making them attend the training again.

The problem is that employees don’t see it that way. Sometimes being a good manager means going first, even if it means going first again.

As a trainer I sometimes show a video. Training rule #1 when showing a video: Watch along with the participants. It helps create the impression that this is an interesting and worthwhile video. Also know that I’ve seen some of these videos more than 100 times—I could be the understudy for any of the actors. And still I watch because it supports the learning process.

If you are a manager, be aware of your actions. Your employees are watching and what you do (or don’t do) makes a difference.

It’s tough being in charge.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.