Highly effective leader-teachers create teachable moments. They also take advantage of naturally occurring teachable moments that happen throughout a typical work day and, frequently, numerous times during a week of business and organizational life. We call this teaching in the moment. Four keys to effectively teach in the moment are:
- Identify missed and upcoming opportunities to be more effective.
- Plan teaching moments so that others can benefit.
- Prepare to take advantage of situations when these moments occur so that those involved can learn from the experience.
- Lead, teach, and facilitate others to regularly reflect on and learn from their experiences.
Every leader can capitalize on learning opportunities by using these four principles.
Below are a few examples of teaching in the moment. As you read these examples, think about how you can encourage similar teaching and learning opportunities to occur more regularly throughout your organization.
An executive helps a group of leaders who are involved in a very difficult multi-million dollar decision-making process about a new product. He does so by reminding them to “do the right thing” when balancing the issues of safety, ethics, and market potential.
A VP of marketing always reserves 30 to 60 minutes for a learning discussion after her direct report makes a presentation to senior management.
In the midst of a team dispute, the team leader calls “time-out” and then leads a no-blame, no-lose conflict resolution session. The issue is resolved, and cooler heads are able to discuss and learn from what led to the argument.
A leader regularly holds scheduled—as well as spontaneous—“walk-and-talks” to discuss issues of the day and to learn from one another on topics important to the team.
Joan is famous in her company for how much she can discuss, analyze, and teach in a five-minute period going from meeting to meeting in the spacious hallways of her company.
After reflecting on the above examples, share answers to the following questions in the comment section below.
How effective are you at teaching in the moment?
What are two or three opportunities you can identify in the upcoming week to teach in the moment?
During the next month, when it comes to teaching in the moment, how do you plan to be a more effective leader-teacher?
Learn more from Leaders as Teachers Action Guide: Proven Approaches for Unlocking Success in Your Organization, available now.