Over the years I have been through many classes on management strategy.  Human resources, financial management, physical and intellectual property management, and marketing just to name a few. Of course, on that list financial management has always been my strength and my stronghold. However, our most important resources are our employees.  This includes ourselves.

A consistent message I have received throughout my growth in management is to train your employees’ strengths. Not necessarily what they LIKE to do, but what they EXCEL at doing. The distinct difference there is getting tasks done that do not necessary require skills.  Those can always be delegated.  The key is getting your employees to recognize the talents and skills for which they might excel and then nourishing and honing those skills to make them of value to your organization.

Be careful how this is done. As an accountant I have exposure to almost all aspects of accounting (since I am in non-profit organizations I do not do corporate taxation). About 6 or 7 years ago my Director identified me as the right person to manage a fairly large billing department. I had serious discussions with my director as I did not want to be “pigeon holed” into a category of accounting that I did not love.  I accepted the promotion and excelled at it for the most part.   Most of that position was developing policies,  improving processes, and educating staff on those processes and policies.  Leadership and training classes and a mentor helped shape my management style. After a few years when the department was humming along and the organization was growing, but our department did not grow.  I became a “doer” along with my management responsibilities helping with strategic plans, budgets, and various financial analysis.  My strength was not being a “doer” or one who performed a collections service, it was analysis, planning, budgeting, etc.  Those talents were no longer being nurtured, so I moved on.

I use myself as an example because just because an employee may excel at something, as they grow in the position management needs to be aware of satisfaction and continuously check in or watch for signs of disengagement or burnout. Work with the employee to figure out the source of frustration. There were people in my department that excelled at collections and enjoyed working with payers to keep a positive cash flow.  I excelled at cash flow analysis and strategic planning.

Training up to an employee’s potential with not only boost their enthusiasm about the position, but improve productivity.  The enthusiasm may spread to other employees as information is shared from training. Training also includes assignments that are challenging to allow success. Encouragement and mentoring along the way provide an environment that is inviting to new perspectives.  I love being challenged.  I loved it when my employees challenge me.  I do my research and am able to support them or guide them to resources that may help them grow further.  Training up benefits your employees and yourself. Try it.  Train Up.