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Teaching and retaining new skills

Teaching and Retaining New SkillsLearning and retaining new skills is critical to your personal and professional development as an employee within an organisation.

Even though learning and retaining new skills is a skill in itself, as a leader it can be even more difficult teaching those new skills in a way that will ensure employees will retain them.

As a leader teaching new skills there are a few things to remember when you are trying to get employees to retain them.

Here's a list of the top things to remember when teaching and retaining new skills.

Define instructions

When teaching new skills, ensure that the skill and actions to achieve the skill are described or provided in detail to employees. Explain what tasks and actions have to be done rather than ‘what not to do’, as research shows that positive instruction is more retainable than negative.

Ensure understanding

A leader should never assume their message is clear and that it will be understood after being explained once. Once a leader has explained or provided instructions, they should continue to observe and identify what may need more clarification through constructive feedback.

Reinforce instructions

One of the proven ways to increase retention is through positive reinforcement or feedback. If a leader sees a negative behavior, it is most beneficial for them to correct it immediately following with a positive reinforcement the initial instructions.

Understand that mistakes aren’t a negative

Mistakes are so often quickly judged as a negative occurrence. Leaders should see Mistakes as an opportunity area for growth. When a mistake occurs a leader should have the employee take the time to analyze the mistake that has been made, note the cause, identify what could have been executed better, how they can fix it in the present, and what to avoid in the future. In conclusion, mistakes are a huge learning opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Leaders who implement and keep in mind these ideas when teaching new skills to employees, should see a rise in skill retention by subjects.

About the Author: Fiona Lang

Fiona Lang
Fiona Lang is an experienced human resources consultant, line manager and financial controller. She has designed and delivered feedback, training and development programs for organisations in the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. She has worked across Australia in management positions for ANZ bank, Citibank and the National Australia Bank Group. She holds a B.A. (Psychology) and Dip.FP.

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