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The Teaching Manager August 1, 2012

Posted by Tim Rodgers in Management & leadership.
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I think one of the most overlooked elements of a manager’s job description is the responsibility to teach. Managers should be measured on their ability to use the resources assigned to them, and anything a manager can do to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their team is obviously a good thing for the business. Certainly all employees are expected to have acquired the minimum skills and training required to achieve their individual and team objectives. A manager coaches to their team on how to apply those skills and training in the unique ecosystem of the business, consistent with strategic priorities and complementary to the roles of internal partners, suppliers, and customers. This coaching is based in-part on the insights that come from the manager’s experience with success and failure — what works, and what doesn’t work– but managers should also recognize and promote best practices that are outside their personal experience.

Three other teaching opportunities for a manager:

1. Identifying skill gaps and recommending plans to close those gaps. The manager may have the knowledge and ability to provide training themselves, but what’s more important is the recognition of the gap and prioritizing the whatever training may be necessary.

2. Developing and encouraging good judgment so their team can act independently without the need for close supervision. This increases team productivity and enables the manager to spend more of their time on higher value-added activities.

3. Identifying and developing the next generation of leaders. As I wrote in an earlier post: “Those who actively participate in helping new leaders are valued employees who understand their role in helping the business continue and grow.”

Companies who invest in their human resources realize concrete and sometimes unexpected benefits. Managers at all levels in the organization are critical to that investment through their daily opportunity to teach.

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