Teach, Don’t Tell
You have aspired to be a manager since the start of your career. You have been a dedicated student and you have followed directions. Along the way, you have gained the knowledge and the expertise that is necessary for you to continue to advance and to add to your level of responsibility.
You have taken some big steps toward management, but the know-how that you have gained won’t necessarily make you ready to be an effective leader. There are still at least two things that you will need to fully understand in order to be prepared when promotion day arrives.
First, you must realize that the primary change and biggest difference in your job going forward is the addition of the responsibility for others and the fact that you will no longer be assessed solely on your work results, but on the results of those for whom you are now responsible.
Second, if you are now reliant on those for whom you are responsible, you will need to quickly figure out how to put them in the best possible position to succeed. The best way to do that is to understand the difference between teaching and telling.
I occasionally hear people say, “I can’t wait to be the boss so I can tell people what to do.” If that is your perception of what it means to be a manager you are in for a rude awakening.
Knowing how to do your job is very different than knowing how to help someone else know how to do their job. Anybody can tell someone else what to do, but that will not help them understand why they are doing it or what its correlation is to their success.
Let’s start with this premise. Don’t say it if you can’t explain it.
If you have kids, you already know that you can very quickly lose control of a discussion and look like you have no idea what you are talking about the second you use a word or repeat a saying that you cannot clearly explain to your inquisitive child. You must understand what you are talking about if you are going to have any chance of assisting your child to understand what you are talking about.
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union
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