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Leading Anyone – From Novices to Experts 2

Stephen Billing, September 11, 2008

When does a novice stop being a novice? How should your leadership style change as the novice develops his or her skills? This is a second post in a series of five covering Dreyfus and Dreyfus’s stages of adult development I discovered in Patricia Benner’s book From Novice to Expert. The stage after novice is advanced beginner. The five stages are:

Advanced Beginner

An advanced beginner can demonstrate marginally acceptable performance because they have enough experience to note, or have pointed out to them by a mentor, the recurring situational components that are global characteristics (called aspects) that can be identified only through prior experience. They need to see examples so they can identify these characteristics. Instructors can provide guidelines for recognising these aspects which can be made explicit. The guidelines will give cues, but no one cue is definitive in all situations.

A manager who can explain steps in delegation but who doesn’t pick good situations to delegate tasks is demonstrating the advanced beginner stage.

Implication for leaders: Show lots of examples for advanced beginners so they can learn to recognise new aspects of situations.

More in future posts…

This series of posts draws heavily on Benner’s book

From Novice to Expert

and Dreyfus and Dreyfus’s article

From Socrates to Expert Systems

The implications for leadership are my own. What are your thoughts?

Benner P. 1984. From Novice to Expert, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.


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