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Who’s On Your Bench? Teaching & Delegating for Growth

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And we’re back for round 3 of our core values discussion! Our ‘Teach & Delegate’ core value is near and dear to our hearts. Many organizations tend to focus on formal, structured training—a rigid, chalkboard-style approach to teaching. That has its place, but we can’t neglect teaching by example—the qualitative skills team members pick up from everyday interactions with leadership. As most parents can attest, we imitate what we see rather than what we hear.

Training at the Company Level

How do you teach others to teach? To lead? The FIT team is more than halfway through a 15-week training course for our entire organization. Each Tuesday, we have a companywide roundtable where employees discuss what they learned and enjoyed, leadership shares how the training applies to our business, and we have a question-and-answer session to make sure that application is clear.

As leaders of our organization, we have the responsibility to lead by example, to show that our core values are not just standards for company conduct, but standards for our personal lives and choices. For us, this involves encouraging participation, inviting employees to share their stories and struggles and wins, how they have applied or want to apply the concepts we’re discussing.

Training at the Employee Level

Companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in training their staff. Training Magazine’s 2019 Training Industry Report found that on average, employees received 42.1 hours of training annually. However, that training is usually designed to help an employee better fulfill their existing role—not to prepare them for the next one.

At FIT, we have this concept of “being on the bench.” To move up in the company, you need to seek out mentors, learn the roles and responsibilities of the job you want, and “be on the bench” for that position. By the same token, though, you can’t move out of your position unless you have someone on your bench. This cycle of learning and teaching allows for smoother transitions and more internal hiring.

To help with this passing of the baton, our teams are recording hundreds of videos documenting our processes and knowledge across all departments, making it even easier to “be on the bench.”

Elevation Through Delegation

It’s difficult to discuss the topics of teaching and delegating separately because they’re so intrinsically linked. They also tie in with our other core values, such as constructive communication and staying humble and adaptable.

Much of the business world today is infamous for its selfish, me-first spirit: climb the corporate ladder, always look out for #1 or people will take advantage of you. Few people would actively endorse these messages, but there’s definitely a feeling of “that’s just the way it is, so to be successful, I’ve got to play by those rules.”

At FIT, we feel that we can’t be successful—as leaders, as individuals, as a company—if our staff isn’t successful. For us to do well, our employees need to do well. We want to elevate our team, because it elevates us. The same applies between employees; we will not succeed as a team if everybody isn’t working to elevate both themselves AND each other.

As an example of delegation, we recently hired a new engineer named Rance. Usually, Shane, who manages our engineering teams, would be responsible for training a new hire. However, fellow engineer Douglas (who, on a related note, won Best Idea at our Idea Fest for his plan of creating more structured mentorship for new hires) volunteered to train Rance, and Shane agreed to delegate that responsibility to him. We love when team members engage like this; it strengthens the team bond, trains employees for managerial responsibilities, and creates a sustainable cycle of growth.

What Makes Delegating Hard?

It can be difficult to delegate: maybe the job won’t get done as quickly as you’d like, or you’re worried that sharing your knowledge or responsibilities will make you irrelevant or dispensable. But if you don’t delegate, you can’t grow. If a rock climber never let go of one hold, he’d never scale the wall.

You can’t delegate if you’re worried about yourself, your position, your success. Going back to the “bench” concept, are you taking the time to train and mentor, to invest in and elevate someone else? Doing it yourself may be faster, but delegating means restraining yourself from doing a task, and allowing someone else to do it slower.

When you let go of that ego and elevate those around you by sharing your knowledge, you elevate yourself, too.

How It Benefits You

We want to elevate, not just ourselves and our team, but also our clients and partners. Our mission is to help businesses achieve their growth goals as smoothly as possible. If you’re ready to elevate your business, give us a call today at 888-339-5694 or contact us here.

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