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Employee Development – Grey’s Anatomy Style

Employee Development – Throw the employee or team into the deep end of the pool and cheer them onto victory!

Employee development can happen in many ways. Have you ever been in a situation you didn’t expect to find yourself in and discover you had talents and abilities you didn’t know you had? Perhaps it was a customer who needed something from you that was outside your normal scope of work but for whatever reason, you decided that you would help the customer out so you did. Sound familiar? Sometimes through those experiences we uncover our hidden talents. And admittedly, sometimes we wish we had never agreed to go beyond our scope in the first place. I have had both experiences!

Sometimes I am reminded of good ideas in the strangest of ways. Let’s face it, HR lessons are everywhere if we keep our eyes open. Employee development Grey’s Anatomy Style! I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and in a recent episode I was impressed by the training experience that was set up for the Interns. It made me realize that sometimes it’s really great to throw trainees – and we’re all trainees by the way– into the deep end of the pool and watch them swim.

Learning Through Challenge

On this particular episode, Grey’s Anatomy had a patient with multiple issues and the more experienced Doctors stood by as the Interns took charge of caring for the patient. What happened is that a leader emerged, and individually, the Interns learned something about themselves that they didn’t know.  Employee development happened! Through the confusion and even arguments among the team, one of the Interns took on the leadership role and others followed. As the chaos was relaxed each Intern took care of the patient and performed well in a highly charged environment. Thankfully, few of us work in that highly charged environment every day. Even so, there are good lessons for employee development in this episode.

Lessons Learned in this Employee Development Activity

The lesson learned is that one way to promote employee development is to give an individual employee, or a team, a project even though they may have little to no experience. The project should be one that will be challenging and create the environment where the employee has the responsibility and the autonomy to take the project through completion. This is what I mean when I suggest they get thrown into the deep end of the pool. Of course, you are going to be by the sidelines, maybe having the employee or team check in with you periodically, and make sure no one dies in this process – like they did in the episode of Grey’s Anatomy. The personal and professional growth through these experiences can be enormous and the employee and/or team gains confidence in their skills.

The result of employee development activities like this, is an employee who feels more enjoyment and engagement in their job and is better at the job as a result of the experience. You can begin to delegate more to the employee – saving you time to work on bigger matters.

It is really fun to watch the employee’s experience from the sidelines.  It’s important that they feel your support, your encouragement and excitement for their new learning.

Do you have an employee or a team that could use a boost in confidence, engagement and job satisfaction? What is a project that you can pass onto them that will throw them into the deep end of the pool? What employee development tool will you choose?

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