Your Role As A Trainer ...
Without mincing words, as a manager, you are a trainer. One of your core managerial duties is to train your team. However, because of this responsibility, many first-time managers often believe they need to know all the jobs within their managerial domain to be effective. To train your employees on their tasks, you surely need to know them yourself. Or at least that's the mindset that first-time managers have when they start thinking about being a trainer.
It helps to learn as much work within your domain as possible, but it is unnecessary. And it doesn't stop you from carrying out your role as a trainer. As a manager, it's necessary that you know what needs to be done, but not necessarily how it should be done. The "how" is the responsibility of the two dozen employees who are — or at least are supposed to be — niche workers, and that's precisely why they were hired in the first place.
Depending on who's funding your paycheck, your responsibility as a manager could involve doing technical or niche work yourself while also managing others that do the same job. Having the specific knowledge to train your employees is almost guaranteed in such a case.
Suppose you're managing a software development crew while being a developer yourself. In that case, it's going to be much easier to execute your duties as a trainer. However, in other instances, you could be managing dozens of workers performing various tasks. In such cases, being the trainer yourself might not be practical.
It's silly to try training people on what you do not know. However, that doesn't still excuse you for your trainer responsibilities. If you can't directly train your employees, you can still teach them through a proxy. Somewhere out there in your organization, there's someone that knows the job, and you can assign such a person to handle the training.
As much as you might not know the specific details of a particular job, as a manager, you should still possess enough knowledge about a position within your domain to take an active part in the training process.
Here, you're expected to assume more of a supervisory role. If you're training your employees through a representative, you need to thoroughly brief the trainer on your expectations. What do you want the trainer to achieve? What should the trainee be able to do? Iron out these issues with the trainer and get an assurance that they can deliver before putting the responsibility on them. Irrespective of how experienced an employee may be in his speciality, they'll still need the training to adjust to the specifics of a new job.
A developer with 30 years of experience building websites for IT firm A might not understand the specifics of building sites for IT firm B. It is your responsibility as a manager to help them understand the specifics of how things are done in your organization.
During the training, an excellent way to help a new employee understand the job much faster is to break down the job into smaller tasks. If the functions they'll be performing are complex tasks, split them into even much smaller parts. Teach each piece to them one at a time. This is very important. Many managers mistake trying to impact too much knowledge at once — this is very counterproductive. A training plan that highlights various training and practises sessions must be implemented.
Sure, you want your employee to learn fast, but giving them too much to chew will make them hate their job even before they even get started. They'll be overwhelmed by what they believe they'll have to be dealing with daily.
Suppose you're dealing with a factory worker, for instance. In that case, you might want to teach them how to work the machines and other core everyday tasks before going into all the other things they'll only need once in a while. You can make an exemption if the one-in-while skill is safety-related.
If you have time by your side, the training should be stretched for a long enough time to ensure an employee is reasonably acclimated with their new responsibility.