Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing something new…and possibly uncomfortable. An HR Bartender reader was faced with that situation.
Something happened today at work and I really need your help. I work at an Institute that conducts employee seminars, conferences, and training programs for various organizations. There was a session scheduled on the topic of leadership and my boss asked me to facilitate it. My guess is that my boss’ request was intentional to make me develop my skills.
I wasn’t prepared so I turned down the offer to facilitate the session. I couldn’t imagine what I could say that would impress the participants. They are very mature people, some of which are chief executive officers and managing directors, etc. They already have a lot of real world experience, so what else do they need?! In case there’s a next time, please let me know what I should do? Thanks Sharlyn. I really appreciate you.
I believe it’s very brave of someone to write this note. While I can’t tell anyone what to do in the future, I would like to share some things to think about.
Good managers don’t set their employees up for failure. Years ago, my boss asked me to present a proposed policy to the senior leadership team. The days leading up to the presentation, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t want to do anything wrong. And honestly, more than anything, I wanted to impress my boss. On the day of the presentation, I did fine. In fact, she gave me a very nice complement about my speaking skills. So when the boss asks you to do something outside of your comfort zone, take it as a positive sign.
Always prepare, even when you know the material. You don’t have to memorize a presentation, but do get very familiar with the material. If it’s a presentation you’ve done several times prior, maybe you don’t have to spend hours on preparation…but you should review the material anyway. Being prepared shows in the way you conduct yourself. Participants want to know that their training facilitator is prepared.
When it comes to the topic of leadership, everyone has something to contribute. I’ve written before about my belief that everyone is a leader. Just because someone has a fancy job title doesn’t make them a better leader. So, if you’re asked to facilitate a group of executives, consider taking on the challenge. I would encourage facilitators to develop confidence in their abilities. The best leaders learn from others and your perspective is valuable.
I do understand that saying “yes” isn’t always the right thing to do. Each of us as individuals has to make that decision. But when weighing the pros and cons, remember to ask yourself a few questions:
- What’s the best thing that could happen if I accept this stretch work assignment? (and what’s the worst?)
- What’s the best thing that could happen if I don’t accept this stretch work assignment? (and what’s the worst?)
- What’s the likely outcome of my decision?
Accepting (or volunteering for) a stretch assignment can be a terrific experience – for you and the rest of the organization. It’s an opportunity to learn something new and show off your skills. The key to success is proper preparation and confidence in your abilities.
Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby (stats courtesy of SAP SuccessFactors) at the HR Technology Conference0