Friday, March 18, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Teach Another

Not everyone is a teacher or a coach, but we can be responsible for teaching moments and not ignore them. A good friend, consultant and speaker, John Behrends, told me that we don't train people. We train animals. People, we educate because we tell them the purpose behind what they are to do.

I have done education sessions at work with the whole company, a small task-force, and teams. More often, I find myself teaching in one-on-one sessions. When the Accounts Payable clerk asks about whether we should deduct from a certain invoice, I will coach her through the answer. I will then ask if she wants to understand the rationale behind the conclusion we reached and how it might apply to other situations. She might say, "No, not at this time, but later, because I want to get this processed while I remember what we decided" or "I think I understand what we'd do in a similar situation" or "Sure." Then we'd talk about and how different circumstances might change the conclusion. These kinds of moments happen a lot.

Not only are they helpful to your staff, but they can reduce the number of interruptions you have in a day--whether they come through an open door, catch you in the hallway, or send you an email. They feel better about their job, feel more responsible, feel like they're contributing to the organization's success, and don't feel so stupid because they have to ask you a "hundred" questions every day.

Today, teach someone. Recognize the teachable moment and build someone up.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, Jesus' goal was to create disciples who were clones of himself. A disciple was thought capable of doing everything the rabbi could do with enough training. Our task is to work ourselves out of job so that the organization can run without us. You can take that long vacation without having to worry, or check your emails every hour. Like it says in Romans 12, there are many members that make up the body. So too, your organization is made up of many people with many gifts. Don't let them be wasted because they can't function effectively and efficiently. Teach them.

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