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Pumping Up Your Team: Part Three

Acknowledging Employees' Needs

When it comes to learning style, no two employees are exactly alike. If it is your goal to foster a work environment that allows for continual growth and development, then you will need to acknowledge your employees’ diverse needs as learners – and cater your coaching style accordingly.

Ongoing training is an invaluable aspect of employee development, and, as such, will contribute heavily to the success of your company. That being said, implementing diverse learning strategies isn’t always an easy task. While it may be tempting to adopt a “one size fits all” training style, ignoring your employees’ needs as learners will only hurt your business in the end. Below are four quick tips to help you tailor your teaching methods more effectively and maximize your potential as a manager and mentor.

1. Acknowledge & Accept Diverse Learning. To be a truly successful manager, you will need to embrace the wide range of learning styles that your employees undoubtedly share. You already know that employee performance varies from person to person, so why should learning be any different? Don’t be lured by archaic, ineffective training methods; instead, adopt a new mindset that recognizes the value in diversity. An employee that learns best via a hands-on approach, for example, will likely be a go-getter, eager to apply him or herself in the field. An individual that excels by asking questions, on the other hand, is likely to be a very thorough, competent worker. These types of variations in employee learning will ultimately provide you with access to multiple skill sets and a diverse pool of talent.

2. Personalize the Learning Process. Strive to interact with each employee face-to-face as much as possible. This will help you develop an understanding of his or her needs as a learner. Implement learning styles accordingly to bring employee performance to the next level. 

3. Experiment with Various Learning Models. To find out which methods work best for your employees, implement a wide variety of learning models. Do members of your team thrive when experimenting? Observing? Inquiring?  Finding out what works best may come down to trial and error, but the end results are more than worth the effort.

4. Enjoy the Process. No matter how intuitive your methods, you’ll never be able to reach your employees as individuals if you turn the learning process into a negative experience. Have fun! Engage with members of your team and treat them with respect. Respond positively to their triumphs and point them in the right direction when assistance is needed.

Although effective management is more of an art than a science, there is little doubt that acknowledging employees’ unique needs learners will lead to improved performance, mutual respect, and continual growth. Embrace differential learning in your place of business and reap the rewards.
 
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