I have an inexperienced team who always asks for “training.” I realize they have knowledge gaps but when I try to educate them, they just look at me blankly and I can tell it’s not registering. Then weeks later, the very issue I tried to avoid happens. It makes me hesitate to spend my very limited budget on them. What do you suggest? D.G., New York, NY
Educating your team is the mark of a great manager. To do it effectively, tailor your approach to the people you’re trying to educate. I think the key to your situation is your phrase “weeks later.” It’s easier to learn when the relevance of the information is readily apparent—especially if you’re in a fast-paced environment. If you provide a lot of backstory when team members are looking for very specific input, it’s entirely possible they won’t register what you said.
Pick your moments. When a team member has the bandwidth to pay attention, headline what you’re doing and highlight its relevance. It could sound like this: “Jenna, I’d like to give you some context for Project X because it will impact how you estimate the amount of time needed to get internal approval.” Then pay attention and see if your input had the desired effect.
Before you make any judgments about how to allocate your resources, give your team another chance to benefit from your wisdom.