Training and investment in developing people might be viewed as unnecessary expenses in some organisations – even to the extent that when there’s financial pressure, training and development are some of the first things to be cut.
In research and development, where I work, we’re asking our people to be at the very front line of invention and innovation, and so investment in their own development is absolutely essential.
I’ve been training people for many years now. Some have been working in research and development for a few months, while others have built careers in this exciting field over a few decades.
Training people takes time, and doing a good job of it takes even longer, but the results often speak for themselves. And those results have immense benefit for the individual, the trainer and the wider organisation.
Trained, competent people are an asset in every organisation and I’m always grateful to be surrounded by them in research and development. It can be a tough job; we might be implementing a new system or managing complex projects on a daily basis.
It isn’t always easy, but investing time in the training of a colleague can send a number of powerful signals to them: I care about you, I value what you do, I want to share what I’ve learnt along the way in my career. And perhaps most importantly, I want you as part of my team and my organisation.
I think this investment and the message it provides, helps build a rapport and goes a long way towards building trust and mutual respect within a team.
And when it goes wrong – and it will – it’s often worth remembering that it may not have been the failure of a colleague, but a failure of the training they were given. For anyone in a leadership position, a big part of their value is the support they can give a colleague in times of professional or personal difficulties.
I find it both useful and humbling to remember that I work for my team and they work with me. For me, the ultimate job satisfaction – my why – is when one of my peers tells me they’d like a colleague I have trained in their team, because they can clearly see what an asset they are. This is a genuine buzz for me, because it’s clear that, together, we’ve done a good job.
In the words of Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to”.