What Is With You People?

A frustrating thing for a new manager is when the team asks for training, and you deliver it, sharing important ideas to make their jobs more productive.  Then most of them don’t follow through.  They go back to doing things the way they already know.  And it happens again and again.

And each time it’s followed by your inner dialogue that goes something like this:

Why don’t they implement the great suggestions I gave them?  Why are only one or two members of the team really keen to make the changes to their work habits that I recommended?  I know these changes work because they worked for me.  Don’t they care about their job?  Why can’t they be more like me?

At which point it’s best to pull back on the crazy reins…and realize that having a team full of keen learners that want to put in the hard, hairy work of making lasting change is not likely ever going to exist in your time as a manager.  Since most of the people on your team will want to be comfortable most of the time, they will rule themselves out of the change equation:

Time + Commitment + Discomfort = CHANGE

And that’s OK.

For most of the members of your team, it’s just a j-o-b that pays the bills and doesn’t require marching or any kind of manual labor.  They like their job, understand their role and have the skills they need to perform their duties on a daily basis.

This doesn’t mean that they won’t change or won’t learn.  It means that they won’t take to it naturally and will only adopt new processes or learn new skills when their survival depends on it, or when you as the manager force it on them.  I know you’d prefer not to micro-manage, but when something absolutely, positively has to change by a certain time, there is no better way than tracking, measuring, reporting and meeting about the status of the changes. Every day until it’s no longer the new process.  It’s just the process.

So if they are not going to implement change, why do they ask for the training?  I would guess that the team is not actually asking for the training – but it’s just the one or two keeners in the group and they are asking really loudly.  And you are listening, because you speak their language, as you were likely one of them before you sat in the manager’s chair.  So it will be up to you to evaluate a training or development request from the future company rock star. Most likely you can accommodate the request with some 1-1 time with them and avoid the inner soliloquy of frustration that follows team training sessions that are interesting to only two people, you and the person that requested it.

Save the team training and the required managing by FedEx (tracking, measuring and reporting) for new ideas, processes or skills that are game changing or company saving.

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