Monday, May 21, 2007

New Manager - How do I train another person?

Q. I have been the sole person in my department for over two years. I was doing the work of at least two people, but with time was able to streamline the process to make the workload manageable. I was promoted and got an assistant that I am supposed to turn into a clone of myself. I have no training experience and realize that I am very territorial over the workload. In my review I was told to pass on more and more of the responsibility to the assistant to free myself up to take on more special projects. I have asked for management training, but the response has been very slow and I need guidance now. I definitely don't want to hinder my assistant's progression, but I am stuck in the "I could just do this myself" mentality. I need advice on how to work so that both of us move the next level. I feel responsible for molding her at this beginning stage of her career and would hate for her to move on not knowing as much as she should because I just didn’t know how to convey it to her.

A. I used to have that "I could just do this myself" mentality. The way I got out of it was to ask myself, as I considered each item of work, "Must I do this myself or can I delegate it?"

Delegate everything you can. Start with the simplest, where no or minimal training is required. Let your assistant know what you are trying to do and when something comes up, ask her if it is something she is comfortable doing. Let her know she is taking responsibility for the results and if she is in any doubt she must ask for your help. If this person is self-motivated, in a short while you and she will be making these decisions easily, she will be learning and together you will be getting more done.

Most people are "territorial over the workload" when they believe it is their personal output that counts, that they must be seen to personally deliver the goods or they might not receive the credit for results. Your promotion means that someone believes you can see beyond this and that what counts is that the work is done, whoever does it.

Mostly, the best thing you can do is, rather than clinging to a job, work yourself out of it. That demonstrates to you and your present or future employers that you can lead the work as well as manage it.

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