Daily Archives: December 6, 2007

Throwing People in At The Deep End

I firmly believe that it’s beneficial for people to be thrown in at the deep end, in a professional context. This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get any training; nevertheless it means that people should be required to use their own skills (e.g. in problem-solving, self-organisation) to acquire any new skills or knowledge required to complete a certain task.

This not only helps people learn quicker, and increases the chance in their doing tasks independently next time round, it also helps an employer to assess who is a good investment long-term and who isn’t.

Thus, staff should be regularly given new tasks that they have to figure out for themselves, albeit with plenty of direction as to what resources to use to complete said task successfully and to the standard required.

I really dislike having to correct people and explain things to them constantly. A classic example is where you provide precise written instructions for a task to enable people to get it done. Instead of first reading these instructions and then ask clarification on any unclear issues, some people do not read these instructions but instead ask that they are taken through it in its entirety and from scratch.

This is really tedious, and not something I’m particularly fond of. On the other hand, every now and then there is a person that really shines. You throw them in at the deep end and they learn to swim, and they become a really good swimmer 🙂