Yes, I have become a fanatic person when it comes to the learner responsibility. As many of you know, I’m currently doing some research on the attributes of employees that enable them to become high-performing employees. For far too long, we've provided training in our industry only to have the learners fill out one to two-page evaluation sheets. One of the questions always cracked me up and it was in direct regard to the question that asked, did the trainer know the material. It’s funny, because wasn't the learner there because they did not know the material, but yet we are asking them to evaluate those who did.
Recently, I was in a meeting with an HR director, a director of training and talent development. It was one of the most interesting meetings I’ve ever attended as both continue to ask questions about the manager’s inability to drive performance among his team. As I sat there silently, and yes I was indeed silent, I began to count the number of questions only asked about the manager. After a while, I asked what do you think the role of the employee is when it comes to their accountability? Both looked at me and said this manager is having a number of people quit his team. I offered my services to sit down with some of the employees and one of the most amazing things occurred. Three employees shared with me after using many thoughtful and considerate coaching questions that one employee in particular is really intimidated and made the rest of the team feel uneasy. I asked all three employees why they had not confronted the employee or made their manager aware of their feelings? All three said they feared the backlash of not only the employee but the rest of the team. I asked if they were aware of the impact this was having on the perception and the reputation of their manager? All three shared they were not.
Think about it, here are multiple employees having an incredible discomfort with confronting issues and providing feedback; whereas, the perceived issue was the manager. The manager certainly had his challenges in terms of leading the team, but the real issue resided within the pool of employees and their responsibility within the process. If the employees had been trained and coached on how to confront issues and challenge one another for the betterment of the organization, this team and organization may not have lost so many employees historically or had spent so much money recruiting new ones. All too often we tend to blame those who lead/coach and those who train when we need to start looking at the employee’s responsibility as well.
We are at the forefront of repeating the same mistake as we did in training. Managers cannot solely be the only ones responsible when it comes to coaching employees. In both cases of training and coaching, the employee learner has a tremendous amount of responsibility.
What are your thoughts?
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