They shall work, not learn

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Boy, I wished that I hadn’t heard this sentence in real life from a manager – but I have. Learning and developing your team still is news to some people in a leading position. If you are one of them, please take a few minutes and read on. I’ll promise to make it short! Here’s five good reasons why you should encourage your team to learn, even if you’re really not interested in their development:

#1 Your Team Will Work Better

Believe it or not – investing time (and money) in learning activities for your team will not reduce the amount of work they get done – it will increase it! This is a simple consequence of the very easy-to-remember rule that someone who is motivated works better and more efficient than someone who is not. In the digital age, a workplace is no longer a building where you stay for 8 hours and then drop everything and leave. A job is no longer just a job that pays your bills (well, at least not every job is like that). If your department requires an experienced and educated workforce, you want them to like their work and what they’re doing.

Providing your team with learning and growth opportunities will give them the feeling of being valued as a colleague and person. Someone who has to do the same things over and over again every weekday from nine to five will probably get bored after a few months. Think of yourself when you’re bored: Do you work efficiently? Can you work fast? I bet the answer is no. If you invest in your team, they will stay motivated and on track, and deliver better, faster and more creative results than a team who knows that they will be stuck in their little offices for the next years where the only thing that’ll change is their face when they think of their job.

#2 Your Team Will Take Work Off Your Shoulders

Sounds weird, but it’s so true – a team that has regular learning opportunities and grows over time will work much more independently than a team that is used to their manager taking every decision for them. The more you educate and help your team grow, the more they’ll think for themselves. They will be better at solving problems and figuring out difficult situations. They will not come to you for every little decision, and instead come to you with a solution proposal. You are their manager, but this does not mean you have to think for them. Develop your team and encourage them to take their own decisions!

#3 Everyone Will Probably Stay Longer With You

The digital age is known for many changes. One of them is that enterprises can no longer lean back and wait for great, young, dynamic professionals to arrive at their doorstep, begging them to give them a job. Instead, it’s the young professionals who can lean back, and enterprises preparing presentations on what they can offer them. Spoiler alert: Just money is not enough!

If you want to bind your young, aspiring professionals to your company (and to your team specifically), you are in charge of developing them further. One could wonder whether providing them with learning opportunities encouraged them to leave – knowledge is power in the end, and keeping your team dumb and unknowing might look like a fantastic strategy from keeping them with you. Just ask yourself: Which team will perform better, the one full of frustrated, but uninformed, workers who just do their job because they don’t know what else to do with their lives, or the team of motivated professionals who stay with you because they want to? Yeah. I think you can guess the correct answer.

#4 Your Team Will Trust You More

Think of the reasons that qualify you as the team leader. In the digital age, the sole reason of you being the oldest one is replaced by several others: You are the most motivated one, you have the typical characteristics of a team leader, you are inspiring. In the moment that a team leading position is not earned due to hard factors like age or your career at that company, there is no reason for your team to automatically assume that they have to respect you and follow your command. They will decide whether they’ll follow you based on your trustworthiness. Now guess what?! If you invest in your team, show them your respect and let them know that they’re valued, they will trust you more than if you walk around the office and expect them to cater to your needs. In conclusion – every learning opportunity for your team will directly pay off by increasing your trustworthiness. And a motivated team will work more efficiently than… you know where this is going.

#5 You Will Have An Easier Job Overall

Although preparing your first workshops or learning opportunities is time-consuming and tedious, the benefits will soon outnumber the disadvantages. As mentioned earlier, you will profit from a team that is much more motivated to work, who like to participate and think for themselves. They will support you in taking decisions by providing their suggestions and thoughts. If you discuss strategic decisions with your team beforehand, and they have a chance to participate in your decision making process, you have a much easier role in rolling out the consequences of your decisions in your team. They will only speak up for themselves if they know that they’re valued and that their input is wanted. No one last guess before I shut up for now – what do you think is the easiest way of showing them your respect and support? Yeah. You guessed right.

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