In a previous role a very wise manager taught me that when you are showing someone a task or writing an operating procedure you have to imagine that an alien has landed on earth and needs to be taught this task.
This is not to say that you ‘dumb it down’ and treat the person like an imbecile, you simply need to start at the very beginning and instruct the person step by tiny step.
When writing an operating procedure always assume zero knowledge, NEVER assume that the person doing this task should know how to do even the tiniest step involved in the process. The task could go AWOL pretty quickly if you insert assumptions instead of instructions.
When teaching someone a task make the person feel comfortable, tell them that no question is a dumb question, instruct them to ask as many questions as they need to until they feel comfortable with the task. Make sure that they know what results should be achieved from completing the task. The employee will be able to self-assess the results once they have completed the task. If they are not correct they will be able to retrace their steps and figure out what they did wrong in the process. If they had not known the required result they would not have realised that it was incorrect.
As a Manager it is essential that you see the bigger picture of the business and how every little task contributes to that picture. Please don’t ever assume that your employees share this vision. You are the Manager, you must see the big picture, most of your staff however, will not have the ability or experience to see that picture with you. Explain to each employee how their roles and their results will contribute to the overall big picture of the business, this will not only give them a sense of pride in achieving their results but will also help them more fully understand the task that they need to do to achieve that result.
Always teach or instruct your employees with a nurturing style, do not be a dictator, your staff will be afraid to ask questions and will be more likely to make mistakes. Fear and dictatorship will not increase the skills and the overall success of the business as your staff won’t want to be there. Patience, understanding, and respect will provide a comfortable environment for your staff to grow their confidence, extend their skill set, increase their productivity, ensure their longevity, and build your businesses overall bigger picture.
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