Remind…Don’t Teach

reminder cartoonA fundamental task of a leader is to train and develop his or her team.

This often involves coaching and teaching the team on the strategic, operational and leadership skills that are required for them to reach the next level.

Unfortunately, many leaders spend a lot of time teaching their team only to have it wasted as the team turns off.

“This is nothing new.  I already knew that.”

“Why is he lecturing us again? Does he think that we are stupid and don’t already know this?

In the worst cases, the leader comes across as a pedantic know–it–all.

In order to avoid this issue, the good leader does not always teach, he or she reminds.

“I know that you already know this, but I want to remind you about the way to approach this leadership problem.”

“Just as a reminder, you may want to respond to this issue in this way….”

“I know that you guys are already experts in …  But, I thought to remind you about these fundamentals that help us…”

By phrasing our insights and teachings as reminders, we do not de-motivate our team by implying (unintentionally) that we know something that that they do not.  Instead, we compliment them on their knowledge.  In short, using reminders prevents the team from closing down and not listening.

And truth be told, the fundamentals of leadership remain so simple and have been so widely communicated in books, blogs, classes, and trainings that most of our team probably already does know all about what we are talking.  They just need to be reminded and to bring that knowledge from the back of their minds to front center in order to implement it.

Way back in the 1700’s, Samuel Johnson said it well:

“People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.”

So, please take this blog for what it is, a reminder for all of us to use reminders.

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About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
This entry was posted in Business Acumen, Communication, Leadership and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Remind…Don’t Teach

  1. Rive says:

    Excellent post thanks.

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