Staff Devlopemnt – Teach Them To Fish
We have all heard the saying “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime”. While it is widely recognised to relate to poverty and a person’s ability to provide for themselves, you can equally apply it to how we should develop our teams. When a question is raised by a team member, as a manager or a senior team member it can sometimes be easier to provide a quick answer rather than to actually teach them how to come to their own conclusion. You are busy and want to get on to the next task on your list, but when you think about it, they will be back again with the same question, or a similar question. But are you really saving yourself anytime? If we consider the breadth of information that an accountant is expected to know, from accounting principles to auditing standards, from tax legislation to company law it is no wondering junior members of the team have questions. The environment in which we operate in is every evolving and as accountants we are always developing and learning. The key to getting the most out of our team is to teach them to fish, rather than giving them a fish. When a question is raised, consider asking a question in return. A simple example might be a team member comes to you asking how they should account for a property purchased by a client, rather than coming out with the answer you might say:
- What are the relevant sections of accounting standard?
- When you apply these relevant sections to the property in question, what does the standard tell you to do?
- What other areas might you need to consider with regards to this purchase (title, security, debt, depreciation etc)
- What are the disclosure requirements in the client’s financial statements?