Good training makes staff feel confident at their job, which will ultimately help improve their customer interactions.
Photo: LAURA WATILO BLAKE

Ninth grade Algebra was my nemesis. The principles just didn’t make sense. Why was I adding letters? For an entire year, I told myself, “Don’t build a wall, Sherene. Don’t put up a wall.” I intuitively knew that if I did, I would never learn what I needed to pass the class.

There are still things that threaten to send me into a tailspin. Recently, trying to learn how to research SEO keywords and even a complicated card game made me want to shut down. Learning can be challenging, especially with deadlines and when others are watching.

What about you? Where do you struggle and when are you most tempted to shut down? What about your team? What is each member most prone to struggle with?

Feeling inadequate and stupid does little for self-esteem, yet the world is ever changing. Employees and businesses who don’t come up to speed become obsolete and get left behind.

Adaptive leaders recognize when and where an employee is struggling and know it’s not enough to say, “It’s easy, all you have to do is …”. Wise leaders work to empower and equip individuals for peak performance. The following are tips to help you do that even more effectively.

1. Provide adequate training. When a skillset is missing, training is required to bring employees up to speed. For example, when you implement a new point of sale system, employees need instruction. Additionally, new hires always need trained on essential job functions. The clearer the expectations and instructions, the better.

Training is critical to your team and organization’s success. Skimp on providing it, and you’ll encounter unnecessary and often costly mistakes, frustrations and turnovers. Leave it in the hands of someone who is impatient, too busy or not a good teacher, and you’ll experience similar results.

2. Recognize mindset problems. When skillset training doesn’t work, dig deeper. There is almost always a mindset problem preventing an individual from coming up to speed. For example, depending on the age and experience of your employees, someone struggling with or avoiding technology is most likely shutting down because of a mindset problem.

Over several years, I tried to help a friend get up to speed with using the computer. He’d completed the training his workplace required and provided, but it never stuck. Although bright, hardworking and highly motivated to succeed, nothing worked. It was as though a fog encircled his brain. I finally asked, “What’s your preferred learning style, hearing, doing or seeing?” He quickly answered, “Doing.” Having watched him do what I was teaching him over and over to no avail, it finally dawned on me that he was experiencing a mindset rather than a skillset problem. Once we addressed his mindset, he quickly came up to speed.

What was the problem? Over the years he’d repeatedly told himself, “I’m not good at computers,” and “I don’t like computers.” His brain believed him. I utilized a tapping technique to help him overcome his technology phobia and anxiety, and in less than three minutes, he was whizzing through what he had tried to master for years. Even more impressive, he hasn’t needed my assistance since.

A coach, counselor or other helping professional may be needed to help employees identify and overcome what holds them back. If your organization provides such services, fantastic. If not, encourage a beleaguered employee to find a practitioner who can help them identify, overcome and succeed.

Once you know what’s going on, it is far easier to problem solve and lead individuals and your team to long-term success. Who wouldn’t want to work for such a great boss?

Sherene works with organizations that want to boost their Leadership IQ so they can enhance effectiveness, increase employee engagement and raise productivity. sherenemchenry.com