Good bosses are good teachers.
They help typically shape an individual’s career by sharing their expertise as well as sharing the wisdom necessary to master not simply the job, but a career.
The lessons revolve around what’s happening in the business as well as what’s necessary to learn in order to become more effective.
So, how do great managers do this?
Invite questions. Implicit in teaching one-on-one is the notion of questioning. Curiosity is essential to learning so good managers make it known they welcome questions. Questioning reveals two important things: 1. What students already know; 2. What they need to know to become better.
Reveal insights. Back-and-forth questioning is good, but it is good for the manager to share what he or she knows. This sharing can be in the form of an explicit lesson, or it can be in the form of a story.
Question assumptions. Teaching employees to be skeptical of easy answers is good practice. When employees are expected to push back on what they have learned, they demonstrate that they have learned.
Their challenge then is to prove their new learning. Sometimes it will affirm what already is known. Other times it will open new avenues of discussion and learning.
There is something else good teachers do: instill confidence in those they teach.
“One of the things the great teachers do is prepare you for their absence,” writes Diana Geotsch. “They give you confidence, they give you your life, and, by doing so, they make themselves obsolete.”