Four steps to development

In part four we looked at the magical night sleep that newly promoted people are expected to have, so they can come in the next day fully competent for the task ahead. Clearly it doesn’t happen, yet we must presume that people think it does as they put a person into a new position, or ask them to do a new task, yet do not provide a training and development plan for the person.

They need to be properly managed to ensure they realise what knowledge they need, what they will learn through experience, and that they have a training plan in place to help them mature into a skilled worker.  It is even more crucial if the person is worried about their ability to do the job, and they will definitely need the encouragement of their line manager.

Four steps to development
Four stages of a development plan

We spoke previously about the four stages we go through in the development process, but there is equally a four-step process to help a person through the stages of development:

  1. Training

There are many ways that we can ensure a person is properly training. Not always is it the person’s line manager who needs to provide the training, it can be provided by a colleague who is already doing a similar task or job.  Known as the “buddy system”.  There is a potential drawback if the “buddy” likes to cut corners when they do the job, they are likely to pass on the bad habits to the trainee.  Pick your “buddy” carefully.

To avoid that, you could show them yourself, but of course that is quite labour intensive for you. So, it is probably better to “buddy” the person up and then keep a watchful eye on the process.

External training can be useful as a professional trainer can ensure standards are met and that the person feels confident about their abilities.

  1. Practice

We must give a person a chance to practice what they have learnt, and you must be prepared for them to make mistakes.  It is vital that when they do make mistakes in the learning phase that they are given a hard time over the mistakes as they are an essential part of the development process.

  1. Learning

They say we learn the most by our mistakes and during the practice phase we are bound to have made many.  Equally, those who do not get training have to work out a way of doing it for themselves. They are not likely to do it as well, and there is every danger that they will take longer doing it.

You may have suffered from this, especially if you are like many who have never had any training on Microsoft Office yet have to use it day to day.  If you were like me, then you would have just used the intuitive nature of it to get started and then build your knowledge over time. As a result, I am not using it fully, and certainly I am not familiar with all the time saving short cuts.  As an example, you don’t need to use a mouse and your hands do not need to leave the keyboard if you know all the shortcuts in “Word”?

Let’s ensure they get properly trained in stage one.

  1. Experience

If we have properly trained them, given them the opportunity to practice, helped them learn through their mistakes, then finally they are ready to reach stage four where they gain even more knowledge through “doing” and in time the rough diamond has the edges knocked off and they become a sparkling shiny diamond.

This four-step process was the foundation of the apprentice scheme in the previous centuries, and as a result they produced skilled carpenters, silversmiths, painters, tailors and many more professions that require a highly skilled person to do the job.

It is in our interest for the person to reach the fourth level of development, where they can just “do it” with unconscious competence.   We will achieve this if we use the four-step method properly, otherwise they may have to jump to stage three and work it out for themselves and it will certainly be longer for them to gain the necessary experience, which is a waste of time for all.

To read Part Four – Are they up to the task  Click here

To read from the beginning of the leadership series click here