Dear Preston: My Marketing Manager Wants To Learn Flowers. Should I Let her?

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Dear Preston:

I am a business owner with a small staff, all of whom were hired to do a specific job. Lately, my marketing manager has shown interest in learning a bit of floral design and asked me if she could come in and watch my team of florists work on a wedding. She offered to do this on her own time, but I am a little conflicted. I hired her to do marketing, not arrange flowers. What do you think about this?

Dear Confused:

This is a great question! I know there are those who run their offices with strict adherence to a specific set of rules and job descriptions, but I have never worked this way. I am a Taurus which means I can push back and work in a linear and slower pace than some of my employees might like, but I have always made it a point to avoid being a rigid boss. I support structure and consistency, but with a healthy dose of flexibility.

As a business owner, I have a bottom line that matters and a brand vision and value system that I adhere to, but I want my employees to know they are free to speak up, share their thoughts, ask questions and try new things that may not fall under the initial guidelines of their role.

In fact, I encourage this and would be turned off by an employee who wasn’t willing to explore and try new things and contribute to the conversation. Brainstorming and overcoming challenges is not only a daily part of this business, but it is exciting and a great way to bond and discover new avenues and talents. Why miss out on that as a boss or miss out on the chance to enhance an employee’s skill set or allow them the opportunity to explore a dream they never dared to share?

This is why you will notice that I have staff members write blogs and have no problem with my editor coming down as we prepare a presentation to ask my floral designer questions. The more the team knows about the business and what their colleagues do, the stronger the team.

Confused, I encourage you not to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach in your business. I also encourage you not to allow a fear that your employees learning more and expanding their skill set will have them leaving you (let’s be honest; that can be a concern). We work in a creative industry  that requires individuality and creativity. Allowing your staff members to have the freedom to express themselves in a professional and productive way and encouraging them to move outside of their comfort zones will empower them and your brand. As long as the job they are hired for is not risked in any way, what’s the problem with allowing them to learn a new skill that will boost your brand? Also, if she is in marketing, this could be a great bonus. What better way to sell and market your work than to have a real understanding of what is offered?

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