Not all people learn the same way. Neither do your employees. In order to ensure that everyone is giving their most to the company every single day, and to ensure that you’re being the best boss you can be, it’s important to understand your staff’s needs.
That’s why I asked eight successful entrepreneurs how they account for different learning styles among their company employees. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Understand the Difference Between Introverts and Extroverts
There is a significant difference between the learning and working styles of introverts and those of extroverts. I’d highly recommend reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain—it’s an eye-opening book. It’s important to embrace the different working styles of key employees and play to their strengths.
- Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas
2. Be Flexible
Outline your expectations for a new type of assignment, and then let your employees complete it however they are most comfortable within certain boundaries. What’s most critical is the end result, so giving your employees the flexibility to meet your expectations in a way that works best for them can be beneficial for everyone.
- Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
3. Play to Strengths
As a leader, it is my job to cultivate and play to the strengths of each individual employee. By working with all employees based on their individual learning styles, they have the freedom to take control of their roles in a direction that cultivates their learning style. As a result, each employee brings his own unique perspective to the table, allowing us to work more effectively as a team.
- Fehzan Ali, Adscend Media LLC
4. Lead in Logical Ways
As a leader, to account for different learning styles among your employees, you have to communicate in ways that cater to the way their brains work. For example, some people need to get all of the details before they can begin a project; others work best when they’re provided with bullet points or key items. Lead in ways that their brains can follow, and you will get better results.
- Michael Mogill, Crisp Video Group
5. Develop Step-by-Step Processes
I help explain concepts by developing streamlined processes. Sometimes I record interactive videos of my screen using Jing or FireShot. I use step-by-step instructions they can follow.
- Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing
6. Make Sure Meetings Serve Both Types
When I have meetings, I take the time to explain something as simply as I can and then draw it on our whiteboard so I can get the audio and visual team members in sync. I have learned that if you just do one, you are going to lose the other, and you will have to have another meeting just to make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t be lazy in catering to both.
- Derek Capo, Next Step China
7. Start by Asking Them How They Learn Best
The first step is to understand each key employee’s learning style. What works best for them? If I’m going to teach someone something specific, like how to check the performance of an article on our site, I just ask them first if they’d like to watch me do it, or if they’d like to do it while I tell them how it works. That’s typically the best way to make sure that they understand you.
- Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent
8. Develop Individual Plans
We don’t create cookie-cutter approaches to our staff; instead, we work with them based on their individual skills and talents. So when it comes to learning and growing, we create individual plans—much like a school IEP. We also utilize executive coaches to support our key people with plans that are personal to them.
- Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
Have your tried any of these tactics, or found one that works better? Tell us about it in the comments!