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Saturday, September 3, 2016

If The Learner Hasn't Learned The Teacher Hasn't Taught

In India Teacher's day is celebrated on 5th September every year. It is the birthday of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967. It is a special day to appreciate and honour our teachers. Teacher's day is celebrated in over 100 countries, however, the date on which Teacher's day is celebrated varies from country to country, for example in Australia it is celebrated on the last friday in October while in United Kingdom it is celebrated on 5th October.

Teaching is an art and a noble profession. We remember and respect our teachers who have helped us learn and grow in schools and colleges; marking one day as a special day for appreciating them is a super idea.

Learning is a never ending process. We continue to learn even after we graduate. Once we land up in a job we generally focus on job oriented trainings, but even at that juncture the presence of a teacher or a mentor is crucial. Many organizations run a mentorship program which help their employees to connect with right mentors who provide timely guidance and direction to employees when needed. As an employee however the most one gets to learn is from the immediate reporting manager. As mentioned in the Spirit of Lean Mentorship: "If the learner hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught"In this respect, team leaders and managers carry a huge responsibility and play a very vital role in the organization.

Playing a mangerial role is tricky, concept of 'Manager as a teacher' adds more complexity to it. If you are playing this role here are some tips to make your life simple:

  • Create a learning plan for each employee in your team
  • Conduct one on one discussions with all your employees and understand their learning needs and priorities
  • Based on the discussion include learning as one of the KRA(key result area) for all your team members
  • Identify the right training courses based on the needs identified
  • Plan and nominate them to attend these trainings
  • Assess their progress by conducting periodic assessments
  • Encourage them to get industry recognized certifications
  • Award and recognize their learning achievements

Following this simple approach will help you get organized and also ensure that each employee is personally treated according to his/ her needs and priorities.

Some more bonus tips are:
  • Organize learning based contests in your team
  • Encourage employees to learn new processes or technologies even if it is not associated to your current project/ scope of work
  • Conduct knowledge sharing sessions for promoting the culture of sharing is caring

There is absolutely no doubt that managers have to be result oriented. Earlier managers used to have a 'Do it may way' dictator style, those days are now gone. Few years ago managers started to follow 'Do it your way' empowerment style and got amazing results. These days the shift is towards lean style of leadership: 'Follow me...and let's figure this out together'. Teaching and mentorship are an intergral part of this model. 

To conclude: If you are in a managerial/ leadership role it is important that you adopt this model of leadership and groom your team as a true mentor. On the other hand, if you are an employee then it is equally vital for you to find a leader/ manager who can provide you the right guidance and direction. This will help you grow by leaps and bounds.

If you read this, go and Thank Your Teacher for making what you are. Teacher's day is here. Happy Teacher's Day to all teachers who made us what we are!

Other good reads:
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15 Powerful Techniques To Pay Attention In Meetings
20 Effective Work Life Balance Tips For Professionals
39 Key Critical Competencies Of Successful Business Leaders
Is The Digital Revolution Going To Take Away Your Job?