In the workplace, leadership requires more than management skills and technical abilities. Part of being a good leader is the ability to share knowledge with your team and encourage continuous learning, both for the personal development of employees as well as the improvement of the company as a whole.
However, not all leaders are also great educators, but with the right approach, all leaders can become spearheads of learning for their team.
The importance of sharing knowledge with your team
Every person on your team was hired because they have the skills and knowledge to do what is expected of them. However, book smarts and even prior working experience are not always enough to unlock one’s potential. For this reason, leaders must be able to share knowledge with their team members to achieve optimum performance and improve productivity.
More than that, knowledge sharing encourages employees to think of new ideas and find solutions to problems on their own. Apart from being a great avenue for self-improvement, the company ultimately benefits from employees’ innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning.
How leaders can become great teachers
Great leaders often make the best teachers. However, the skill of sharing knowledge effectively and encouraging collaboration within your team does not always come naturally. To improve your teaching skills as a leader, take note of the following strategies:
1. Improve yourself
Be honest with yourself: are you a great leader?
The company saw something in you that made them want to give you a management role, be it your technical abilities, people skills, management experience, or all of the above. However, all leaders can still improve themselves, even if they are already the best at what they do.
If you answered ‘no’ to the prior question, look into skills training for team leaders to address your areas for improvement. But even if you answered ‘yes’, you can still benefit from skills development training by mastering new leadership skills and improving your weaknesses.
2. Encourage questions
Asking questions help employees figure out solutions on their own. Rather than spoon-feeding them the answer, encouraging your team to ask questions is the best way for them to learn what they need to learn in the workplace. And who can they better learn from than you; their leader?
Moreover, asking questions can open up conversations that lead to improvement. While employees may be asking questions about things that they don’t know or aren’t sure of, these queries can snowball into discussions that can ultimately bring you to better solutions, plans, and strategies for the team.
3. Provide resources
Unfortunately, you can’t be the sole source of information for your team. And even if you are a walking manual, you won’t always be available when your team members need help.
Instead of relying on meetings and coaching sessions to educate employees, provide resources that they can learn from on their own, such as training manuals, tutorials, company policies, relevant articles, industry journals, and more. Make these resources readily available by establishing an internal knowledge base software where employees can access and contribute information easily. Alternatively, use a file-sharing program that is based on the cloud.
4. Work on weaknesses
Praise your team members’ strengths, but don’t forget to address their weaknesses as well. Being an effective teacher involves working on your employees’ areas for improvement. In this way, they can become more well-rounded at work and reach higher points of their potential.
But is not enough to tell your employees what they need to improve on; you must also be able to tell them how to. Are there employees having trouble with the new company software? Sit by their side and show them how to use it. Is the new hire constantly messing up the spreadsheets? Show them tutorials on how to improve their Excel skills. Sometimes, all people need is a nudge in the right direction to fix their weaknesses.
5. Establish a knowledge transfer plan
A knowledge transfer plan is a recurring process of creating, collecting, organizing, analyzing, and applying knowledge. When done right, having a knowledge transfer plan in place increases efficiency, improves productivity, and promotes growth for an organization.
To create a knowledge transfer plan, follow these steps:
- Identify the knowledge that you need to collect
- Determine who you need to gather this knowledge from
- Gather the pertinent knowledge
- Transfer the knowledge through mentorship, discussions, paired work, etc.
- Measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your execution
Learning never really stops, even in the workplace where everybody is expected to know what they’re doing. For a leader, this means that you must be able to share knowledge with your team effectively. Similarly, you must be able to encourage qualities like collaboration, problem-solving, and innovation among your team members.