Give a Man a Fish or Teach a Man to Fish?

As an employer, are you delegating or training?

A delegator is someone who assigns tasks and allocates responsibilities. A trainer looks for ways to give employees additional responsibility; helps them acquire the skills, confidence, and capabilities to succeed; and supports them as they progress.

Managers must do both; but training must happen before and during delegation so employees are equipped to handle their assigned tasks.

It’s true that training is a time-consuming endeavor that entails ongoing monitoring and mentoring. But when you assign someone a task without providing sufficient guidance, coaching, and support, you set them up to fail.

How can you establish a successful system of training and delegating? Before investing in a training regimen, look for those who are truly motivated to move up in the organization and then identify their areas of interest. The next step is to create a development plan for them that zeroes in on the skills they need to advance. Focus on giving them assignments that call for those skills, as well as tasks in areas they might want to explore.

Structure the experience so that they are able to work their way up to more complex and challenging tasks. Be aware that people often need a nudge to focus on their weaknesses.

Keep in mind that taking on employees as apprentices requires effort. Your own productivity may suffer temporarily as a result of the time you spend mentoring others. But when you make this kind of training a regular part of your job, you multiply yourself and ultimately increase your team’s productivity. As the saying goes: teach a man to fish…

Give a Man a Fish or Teach a Man to Fish?
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