There is an old saying: those who can’t, teach. But teaching is important even when using SkyPrep to test employees in our online testing software or train employees in our online training software requires you to manage your employees appropriately – this can’t be underestimated. Indeed, it is all too easy to dismiss the lessons of a seemingly artificial environment like the classroom in favor of the visceral realities of the “real world”. However, teachers have a lot to tell us, especially when it comes to managing people. Teachers as a whole may be the most effective people managers there are.
Try imagining your average classroom. Twenty-thirty learners compelled to perform tasks without receiving pay. Many of those learners also have exceptionalities and unique learning styles that require the teacher to adapt to maximize their potential. Furthermore, there are a number of pupils who are there in body, but have their attention directed elsewhere. The teacher needs to motivate these individuals to complete the tasks as well. Now lets call these “pupils”, “students” and “learners” employees. If the average classroom was a workplace, a good teacher truly has some of the best skills out there for managing people. If you are looking to up the quality of your management team, try taking these four tips from the teaching profession.
1 – Know your Employees: Every teacher will tell you that each class is different. You can teach the same topic one year to the next, and each time you will get different results. The reason is that each class is made up of different individuals with their own unique learning styles, interests and capabilities. A good manager, like a good teacher, knows how to tap into the strengths of each of their staff members. To do this they need to know who their employees are.
2 – Lead by Example: As Baltasar Gracian once said, “they who insists on the dignity of their office are wholly unworthy of it.” Laying down the law and insisting on respect because of one’s status or title is almost never effective over the medium to long term. Managers need to build trust and respect with employees so when they need them to do something challenging or outside their comfort zone, employees are more willing to go to take the leap. Good teachers never demand respect because they are teachers. They earn it by helping their students reach their goals, supporting their learning and developing their professional and subject area expertise.
3 – Be Sympathetic: Life happens. For teachers, this means that sometimes students need a little extra time and space to get back on track and resolve outside issues. No one wants their personal life entering into their professional life. Your employees aren’t any different. However, sometimes things beyond our control can affect our performance over the immediate or short term. Being respectful of your employees in times of crisis and supporting them can pay major dividends down the road.
4 – Treating People the Same isn’t Treating Them Equally: Fairness is an important part of being a successful manager or teacher. However, fairness doesn’t mean using a one-size-fits-all approach to your employees or students. Great manager create equity, inclusion and boost overall performance by giving staff what they need.
Teachers may not be business professionals, but they are experts in managing other people. Consider getting the advice of a teacher next time your managers are due for leadership training.