This morning I’m excerpting a tip from my book “The Power of People Skills.” So technically I’m plagiarizing from a book today, except that I also wrote the book. Moral quandaries.
“My wonderful Norwegian dad was great at so many things, but one thing he wasn’t great at was being a mentor or trainer. He didn’t have the patience for it, and grossly overestimated the inborn skillset that his children brought to basic mechanical jobs.
His on-the-job carpentry training looked something like this:Dad: “Trevor, get me that!”
Trevor: “What, this?”
Dad: (with scorn) “No, not that, the other thing!”
Trevor: (tentatively holding up a tool) “You mean this?”
Dad: (furiously jabbing at the air while pointing) “NOO, THE! THING! OVER! THERE!”
Trevor: (cringing while holding up another tool) “You mean this thing?”
Dad: (now staggered by my stupidity) “Here, get out of the way… I’ll find it myself!”
When someone is new to a complex job, expect them to take a full year to really catch on. If they’re at 60% within six months, they’re probably doing okay. Take a breath and remember all the hours you had to devote to get where you’re at today. Exercise some patience, and become a mentor to someone where they are.”
This is true if you’re the mentor, but also true if you’re new to a job.
Think of all you have to learn. Not only do you have to figure out the job itself, but you also have to navigate all the complexities of fitting in to a new team and absorbing a new culture.
So, be patient with yourself too. And if you’re the boss, consider the maxim