When you are new to a position or company and unsure of what you are doing or what your responsibilities are, your chances of success are not very good. Depending on the type of activity, you could be placing yourself or others in a dangerous situation with your ill-equipped preparation. Insecurity is common and to be expected when someone learns new skills or is placed in unfamiliar situations or environments. That’s where great leadership can make a difference. A great leader will instill confidence in their team and those surrounding it.

On the Job Training Versus Formal Training

One of the best ways to instill confidence is with appropriate training and knowledge. Adequate training is not showing someone how to do something once early in the morning and walking away to go about your own tasks for the rest of the day, only to come back and find out that your one-time demonstration was not enough and executed completely wrong the entire day.
Adequate training before performing work is ideal. On the job training is necessary to mastering skills but can limit the natural progression of learning new skills. When a new team member is on a new jobsite learning new skills, the pressure is elevated. The fear of doing something incorrectly and ruining a finished product, coupled with the unfamiliarity of the task, can create a less than ideal learning situation. Most onsite job foreman or the team leader in charge of training often has other responsibilities that detract time overseeing, immediately answering questions, and could lead to easy mistakes or even injury. Formal training should take precedence over on the job training for personal and company success.
Formal training can really take your team to the next level. The opportunity to teach and learn in a controlled environment can help lower stress when learning new skills and help new team members retain more of what they are taught. In formal training environments, instructors are better focused on training than field foremen. While team leaders are amazing and do an incredible job at everything they do, that doesn’t always translate into being a proficient teacher. A trained dedicated instructor has experience in seeing and correcting the various ways tasks work and do not work, before offering the solutions to get it right. Formal training also allows continuous practice, time for questions, and problem solving as things arise until they have success. Once a new team member has learned new tasks during the formal training period, they feel confident in their ability and perform better in the field. The instructor also feels confident in their abilities and can correct a struggling area until they are both happy with the results. A good mix of both on the job and formal training is the best.

Impact on Company Culture

It is the mark of a good leader to pour into everyone around them to build them up and help them succeed. Every effective team must have a great leader. Team members recognize a great leader and are drawn to them and their causes. Taking the time to formally train your team is full of benefits for both your organization and your team members. Having programs in place to train and advance your team helps to create a harmonious culture within your organization. With the skills and knowledge to do an excellent job, team members will feel more confident and be successful more often. This success and confidence will lead to a sense of achievement feeding their attitudes and demeanor in a positive way. A leader who takes the time and resources to pour into their team, tells them that you care about them and about their success. Having your team feel like they are truly cared about, as they should be, is critical to having and maintaining a healthy culture within your company.

Following it up

A great way to continue to get the most out of your training program is by designating members of your team as “coaches.” Coaches are essentially trainers that are on the front lines assessing the performance and advancement of your team. It can be easy to see this role as an “enforcer” or “quality control” type but this should be avoided. Your coach should remain someone team members are happy to see on their job sites. Their roles as coaches should be in helping to point out more efficient and simpler ways to do things. They should also be looking for common trends and problematic areas, so that those areas can be addressed in the training programs. Training does not ever really stop. Procedures are ever evolving, or an updated tool revolutionizes the way things are accomplished. Yet a well-trained team that is ahead of the curve is a critical step in making sure the company is set up for winning situations and success.