Last week I was in a conversation with a couple of friends and we got to talking about how people respond differently to the same thing. Among the things we discussed, was how people not only have different personalities but learning styles as well. As we spoke, I was reminded about something one of my high school teachers once said, “some of you will understand the concept I’m about to teach you before the end of this lesson, some of you a little later in the year or later in your lives and some of you never!” At the time I thought the teacher was very unreasonable… After all, a teacher’s responsibility is to ensure that all his students have clearly grasped the content of his teachings or lessons.
Interestingly, I realized that there are some people I have interacted with over the years and have attempted to help them grasp certain things. And, just as my high school teacher had said to us, in practice, I have experienced the same. I’ve concluded never to think that while all my “students” may claim they have understood and embrace what I’ve taught, it’s all not true! There are times that I thought I had grasped certain things. Only when I attempted the application did I realize that I was still wanting in my knowledge and understanding. I won’t be too quick to say I know something until I’ve tested myself, perhaps through application or explaining to someone else.
In a team context, never assume everyone has learnt something because they say they have. When you “teach” (in whatever form it may be) as a leader measure the extent to which those you serve say they understood you. Give them scenarios that will force them to engage with the lessons and or the principles thereof. One of the truest measures of learning is application and teaching what you have learnt or supposed to learn. If you’re trying to help your team or organization grasp something, make allowance for those that will not get it immediately. From experience, some of the people that have got things later have proved to be valuable assets in building into the vision and making it happen. Don’t discount people or some of those you lead because they didn’t get you the first time, or second, maybe even third time… You could be robbing your team and vision if you write them off too soon.
Don’t forget; some will get it now, some later, others a little later. Not everybody gets everything all the time or at the same time.