How to use Adult Learning skills to build Trust in your Team. The Five Things you Absolutely need to do to Engage your team’s Trust and Buy-in.
Adult Learning is a study that shows that it is necessary to teach adults much differently than you would teach children or adolescents. You have a short window of attention because the mind works so much more quickly than any visual on a slide or even the fastest speaker. A person sitting before a speaker is thinking in between words. They may think about their kids, and then on to what they will do after work, and then what they need to fix for dinner. If you can’t hold their attention, very little will be retained. Learning systems have shifted from Teacher Centered to Learner Centered, having learners experiencing the information, giving relevant life applications and immediately being able to put them into use.
There are five areas that you have to fulfill if you can effectively teach or train your team.
If they do not have these requirements, they will not learn. If they do not learn, you will not have team growth. If you do not have team growth, they will not be able to function as an effective team.
There are several dynamics you have to consider in a group. If there is a mixed group of doctors, hygienists, and assistants, there automatically is a political dynamic. There is a power hierarchy that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with. Is their freedom to speak in a mixed group.
One of the first things you have to do is to get the person in power to agree to allow open discussion, and to not dominate the discussion. Any introverts will shut down if there is more than three people in the group, or a leader that wants to immediately give their opinion.
You have to introduce subjects that go from simple to complex, and guard against giving too much information and moving too quickly.
In a lot of cases, you have to break the group in to 2 or 3 per group for discussion. If there are several doctors, you may have to segregate them together and bring the group discussions back together after the small groups discuss individually.
Safety and Trust go hand in hand, and is the first necessary element of growing a team that is both growing and successful.
You have to listen to each person, and validate their past experiences and their point of view. You should start and finish your time together to respect their time. Adults will choose what they believe by themselves. They will come to their own conclusions about discussions and respecting them means you need to at least listen to their perspective. Each of us, especially doctors who own their practices, have a very unique perspective, that probably isn’t the same as any employee’s perspective. You may ultimately make the final decision on any particular topic, but if you want the team member to buy-in to your goals and visions, you had better listen to them, get their perspective, and explain why you make your decision.
If you expect growth and engagement toward a common goal you need to include the team in the learning. Adults need to engage all three learning styles: Auditory, or the hearing of what is desired; Visual, the act of seeing the material and demonstrating; and Kinesthetic, which is touching, standing, moving, or writing the material to reinforce the learning.
You need to get them up and down, writing on board or paper. You need to use visuals instead of a lot of words on a PowerPoint. “Less is More” with adults, so that can engage them to fill in the blanks.
Content and delivery has to be relevant. How does it connect with their daily life? Is the material Topical, does it apply to the goal in a direct and relevant way? Sometimes you have to do a Needs Assessment, to see if you are going in the right direction. Does you new approach, technique or goal apply directly to your operation. Does it improve what you do in a meaningful and profitable way. Does it make the day easier or harder? Each of these points need to be discussed and worked through.
Will you be able to apply what you learn NOW? If not, then WHEN? You must answer that question to keep things on track. Often you need to concentrate on ONE thing at a time. So many times we expect our team to learn and implement 5-10 things at once. Overwhelm is what that is called. Sometimes our vision exceeds the capacity of our team.
An Effective Team first needs to have Trust in each other and the Leader. If there is no Trust, there is a wall that has to be climbed before any significant Team Growth can happen.
These five steps are necessary before you can have anything more than a group of individuals who are often at odds in decisions and execution in the office.
To build that dream team you have to create an environment where people feel safe, where there is mutual respect for each other, where everyone is included in decisions, with each person feeling engaged in running their part of the office, each person realizing that what they are doing is relevant, and being able to apply information immediately.
Slow down, listen, appreciate, be relevant, and have immediate application. You will be on your way to growing a vibrant, engaged, effective team.