“I came to realize that a life lived to help others is the only one that matters and this is my duty; this is my best use as a human.” ~ Ben Stein
Who are you helping? Something that often escapes us in the work world is the extent to which we should be helping others. Of course we willingly help our customers. We help “up the ladder” when our boss needs our help with something. But how often do we really help “down the ladder” to those we supervise? One of the jobs of just about any employee is to train their replacement.
Many people are very fearful of this concept. They have the counter-productive mindset of, “If I train them to know everything I know, they might take my job.” If this is your thinking, you need to address your insecurities. It likely also means you know you may not be performing at your top-level, but that’s for another conversation.
One of the things I truly loved about the Navy is that you are constantly training your replacement. Navy duty stations rarely last more than 3 years, so everyone has the right mindset to train their replacement. Department heads (Weapons Officers, Engineering Officers, Supply Officers, etc.) are constantly training Division Officers (Gunnery, Fire Control, Sonar, etc.) to step up to the next level. The same is true for enlisted positions. Chief Petty Officers are constantly training 1st Class Petty Officers, who are training the 2nd Class PO’s and on down the line. This is one of the primary ingredients that make our military the best in the world. Everyone is constantly training their replacement.
In the self storage business, we have a rather unique work setting. Typically there are only 2 people running a facility; store manager and associate. One of the main (and occasionally overlooked) duties of store managers is to train associates at every opportunity. One of the main things to remember in training is the application of something I wrote about a few weeks with the “Power of HOW”. Sometimes we forget the training aspect of things and ask “Why”. When an associate does something incorrectly replace “Why did you do this?” with something along the lines of “How can we avoid this from happening again?” or even a statement, “Here’s how I would prefer that you do this.” Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. If you were the associate and were being taught how to perform new duties or were being corrected on how to perform other tasks, how would you want someone to explain it to you?
Helping others must be a part of your daily routine. If it isn’t, as Ben Stein suggests, you’re not performing your best use. But don’t just limit helping to customers, bosses and associates. There are opportunities to help others all around us. Helping others is what really makes life matter.
Who can you help today?
Monty Rainey is a District Manager in the self storage industry since 1996 currently overseeing 21 stores in the Austin & San Antonio, TX area. He is also a leadership coach and public speaker. For a free consultation, please contact Monty at 830-743-2139 or visit his website at http://www.montyrainey.com .
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