The Best Practices for Team Correction and Training
In today’s fast-paced business landscape, effective team management is crucial to achieving optimal performance and maintaining a competitive edge. One of the key components of successful team management is professional development through training and correction.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the best practices for training and correcting your team. By the end, you’ll be able to enhance productivity, foster growth, and achieve outstanding results for your team.
Understanding the Importance of Training and Correction
Training and correction go hand in hand when it comes to cultivating a high-performing team. Proper training ensures that team members have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their roles effectively. On the other hand, correction helps fine-tune performance, rectify mistakes, and guide team members toward continuous improvement.
According to SHRM, 49% of employees want continuous training, with many holding the belief that certain skills will be outdated if they don’t level up often.
Sometimes, management is reluctant to saddle their workers with more tasks. Or, they worry that removing time from the day for training will slow down the daily tasks too much. The consequence for not carving out this time, however, is much more severe.
Key Elements of Effective Training
Customized Training Plans
Tailor training programs to suit each team member’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. This personalized approach enhances engagement and retention of information.
I don’t suggest making a specific training plan for every single employee because that would be far too time consuming. However, we should recognize the different personality types and ways that our team members process information. Certain training styles will have different effects on others.
For example, I’m an auditory and visual learner. A focused lecture a handful of slides or a visual aid is a great way for me to retain information. Growing up, I noticed that my brother was always the opposite of me. He is very tactile. The way he comprehends how things work is by picking them up, feeling them, and seeing how they fit together.
If a trainer were to have my brother and I in a classroom and take only one approach to explaining the information, you can see how that might not be the most effective. Likely, one of us would be left clueless about the information we just received.
Clear Objectives and Expectations
Define clear goals and expectations for each training module. When team members understand what is expected of them, they are more likely to meet and exceed these expectations.
Brene Brown famously said “clear is kind.”
If we want to have successful workers in all aspects of their role, we must be intentional with our words. We can do that by setting rules, expectations, and boundaries.
My colleague, Brandon Woodside, recently wrote an article discussing delegation and how, as a boss, you need to empower people within a framework. Setting rules or objectives doesn’t need to be the antithesis of creativity. In actuality, it will keep everyone on the team heading to the same destination.
Imagine you’re the captain of a Viking ship and your team is holding the ores rowing the boat. If you aren’t keeping track of the surroundings anytime a storm comes, you’ll be thrown off track. As captain, if you aren’t watching where the sun is in the sky, you could be leading this ship in the wrong direction. This may be a simple little example, but beware of the downside to this analogy: charting a ship to get back on course can be a long process (if you don’t crash first).
Incorporate interactive elements such as hands-on exercises, role-playing, and simulations. Interactive learning not only keeps team members engaged but also allows them to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.
Using this hands-on approach is a great way to engage your team because it helps solidify concepts into tangible practices. This will help your team retain the information, making them more likely to use it in the future. The key here is to make it fun. You don’t want your interactive learning to be seen as cheesy or corny (or you can guarantee the group will hate it).
When you do an activity like “role-playing” for learning, there’s a fine line. It takes a professional to ensure that the event is a good use of everyone’s time. In these cases, I wouldn’t hesitate to hand things over to experts of leadership development.
Continuous Learning Culture
Promote a culture of continuous learning by offering ongoing training opportunities. This could include workshops, webinars, and access to relevant resources.
A great way to fulfill this continuous learning environment is to give teaching opportunities to your team members. One example is creating an official instructor course. They may have an expertise in a certain area that would make them a good fit to teach others. Even if they aren’t highly knowledgeable, making them learn in order to teach the group could be highly effective for their personal growth.
When I was in the Navy, this was an approach that was often taken by senior leadership. For both general and job specific trainings, each of us were given a day and topic that we would be responsible for teaching everyone on.
Navigating the Path of Correction
Here are four methods you can use with your department employees to promote team correction and training. One good rule to follow is praise in public and correct in private. Correctional setting can be as influential as the words said.
1. Constructive Feedback
Provide feedback that is specific, actionable, and focused on behaviors rather than personalities. Constructive feedback helps team members understand where improvements are needed without feeling demotivated.
When we hear words like “constructive” or “feedback,” I think it is instinctual to tense up. Figuring out how to deliver news that is less than positive is possibly one the hardest things a leader will have to do.
A best practice here is to ask questions throughout the conversation. When you do, it’s important that you have as broad a context as possible. This is because the individual might be doing what they think they’re supposed to be doing based on the information they’ve gathered from you or others.
And don’t forget to speak with empathy. Even when delivering unpleasant news, it will be better received if they know you have good intentions and their best interest at heart.
Another good practice is to master the art of pointing out mistakes indirectly. You begin by addressing the mistake indirectly and, if the behavior does not change, gradually escalate. Here’s a great video on how to do this tactfully and effectively:
2. Timely Interventions
Address performance issues promptly to prevent them from escalating. Timely corrections minimize the impact of mistakes and ensure that team members stay on track. It’s also the best way to avoid those big corrective talks later on.
After people get into the habit of thinking or doing things a certain way, it’s difficult to course-correct. Time leads to attachment. If you notice something wrong and address it immediately, it won’t take more than a passing remark to correct that behavior before it becomes a habit.
I heard this story one time that was shared by a high end restaurant manager who had a server show up to work in a wrinkled uniform. The outfit was otherwise clean and was being worn correctly, but because it was badly wrinkled, it looked unfit. The manager was able to pull him aside, ask a few questions, and found out he had an unexpected event happen that morning which put the server behind schedule. The manager told him to leave five minutes early from their daily meeting to go to the back and use the iron before heading out to the restaurant floor to start his shift.
By addressing the issue immediately, it was able to be resolved easily, and the employee was able to walk away knowing the importance of keeping his uniform ironed.
3. One-on-One Coaching
Team Leaders must engage in regular one-on-one coaching sessions to delve into individual performance, goals, and challenges. This personalized approach demonstrates your commitment to each team member’s growth. When speaking with members of our team, we need to make them feel heard. During these sessions, managers will be better acquainted with their team members on a personal level. This intimate knowledge will allow them to help chart the best path forward.
It is important to realize that not every single person will have a linear path of advancement. For example, you may realize that their passion in one areas will make them better suited for another position in the company down the line. Helping them achieve the most now will help them (and you) the most in both the short- and the long-term.
4. Positive Reinforcement
Acknowledge and celebrate achievements, both big and small. Positive reinforcement boosts morale, encourages a sense of accomplishment, and motivates team members to consistently excel. Obviously, each company and culture will come up with their own version of rewards, but the point is to celebrate. Too often, gratitude isn’t a practice around the office. Give people their time in the spotlight when it’s deserved, and compliment in ways that are uniquely meaningful to the one receiving the praise.
Leveraging Technology for Effective Training and Continuous Improvement
In the digital age, technology plays a pivotal role in optimizing additional in-service training for new skills. Embracing innovative tools can streamline your efforts and drive better results.
Invest in user-friendly e-learning platforms that offer a range of additional training modules. These platforms allow team members to access training materials at their convenience, making learning flexible and accessible. This can be especially useful to fit into busy schedules since it is accessible when people have the time and can be paused and resumed later. It can also be an easy and interactive way to onboard new employees.
In the workplace, these are also known as learning management systems (LMS). If you’re not familiar with them, here’s a video that go into detail:
Fostering a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Training and correction are not isolated events; they are integral to fostering a culture of continuous improvement within your team and organization. As cited in the SHRM study early employees want training sessions and continuous staff development to keep them at forefront.
Encourage team members to share their knowledge and expertise with one another. This collaborative approach not only enriches the team’s collective knowledge but also promotes a sense of camaraderie.
When I first joined the Navy, I was privileged to come in with an elevated rank (E3), thanks to having two years of college already completed. The test for advancement to the next pay grade E4, or Petty Officer Third Class, was only 6 months away. The first two months were comprised of basic training, and the next two was A-School, where I learned the basics of being a Logistics Specialist.
Thankfully, when I arrived at my first duty station, I had the most knowledgeable Senior Chief (E8) in the entire Navy. My Senior Chief cared deeply about his job and those of us under his charge. He wanted us to be professional and skilled in our craft. When I arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba he already had a training plan up and running to prepare everyone for the upcoming advancement cycle. In two months he grilled us and injected as much knowledge as possible into my brain.
Much to his credit, I advanced my first time up to be a Petty Officer Third Class. I think it is also fair to say that he laid the foundation for me to stay on the fast lane in my career.
Implement mentorship programs where experienced team members guide and support newcomers. Mentorship accelerates the learning curve and helps newcomers feel valued and integrated into the team.
The art of training and correcting your team requires a delicate balance between imparting knowledge and nurturing growth. By customizing training plans, providing timely corrections, leveraging technology, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, you can transform your team into a powerhouse of productivity and innovation.
Remember, effective team correction and training are not just about rectifying mistakes; they are about empowering your team to reach new heights of success. So, embrace these best practices, adapt them to your team’s unique dynamics, and remember to be personally invested as you communicate with empathy.