Have you ever worked alongside someone who wasn’t willing to train you on their position?
So often you see employees holding onto their knowledge with an iron fist. Many believe that by keeping all of the information, they will be valued more as a team member and will be deemed indispensable. But if you look at this same person in their career year after year, they are likely still in the same role making about the same amount of money. Most often, I’ve seen people in this type of role with an attitude of “no one can even come close to do the work that I can do”. The bottom line: refusing to train others keeps you stuck.
Not training others is a sure-fire way to not get promoted and to remain in the same role year after year with little to no growth.
Why? Because training others to do your role carves out the time and opportunities necessary for your promotion. As others step in and take on some of your current tasks, you have room to take on new responsibilities.
And it’s not enough to train others. If you want to see lasting success in the position and the transition, you first must do two things.
Do more than train: work hard and create sustainable systems
Work hard and with a positive attitude. The first thing you need to do is ensure you are completing your role to your highest ability. Even if your task isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, you want to do it with excellence and not demoralize or complain about the task. Co-workers won’t be chomping at the bit to take on a task that is deemed boring, mediocre, or insignificant. Therefore, you want to do all of your work with joy.
Create sustainable systems. The second thing you need to do is ensure that there is an actual system in place. And while we’ll dive more in-depth into types of systems in later posts, let’s talk about what a system is and what a system isn’t today.What is a system, and what is it not?
Wikipedia defines systems as a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.
Here’s what a system isn’t. A system isn’t a fantastic team member who knows everything and keeps their knowledge of the system in their head. I’ve seen companies time and time again in this situation. You may even be picturing your star team member now. Don’t be an Anna.
Let’s look at an example of why this isn’t a system that works.
Let’s say we have a team member, Anna, and she is the bomb! She has been the best hire you have ever had. She picks up on work quickly, has a ton of great ideas, is number one in customer service and can close deals like no one’s business all while being the manager. But your organization has no written systems or procedures.
So what happens if Anna gets sick? A day or two isn’t generally a big deal, and you won’t notice much. That is until she is out on vacation for a week and sales are down for the entire month. Or, even worse, Anna’s spouse gets relocated, and she’s no longer in your business.
At first, the effect may not be super evident, but over a few short weeks, things start to fall apart. In these situations, I often see the blame placed on being short-staffed or on the growing pains or inadequacies of the new hire.
If we are honest, those things do have an impact. But when you have systems in place, that gap is diminished.
So why is there such a large gap when Anna left?
You just lost all of the good ideas, customer service techniques, sales, and managerial procedures. Everyone else is left to pick up the pieces.
If you’re reading this post right now, you may very well be the Anna I speak of.
Don’t get me wrong—you are amazing, and the business owner can’t train your attitude, beautiful smile, great ideas, and your specific attributes. You will be missed, and the company will momentarily be affected no matter what. But if you take time to train others around you and ensure systems are in place, you can rest assured that the business is in good hands and the mission will be well served even after you’re gone.