If you want to hone your employees’ writing skills and encourage them to be self sufficient, you need to know how to be a good editor. Let’s take a look at ways you can do this.
Let Your Employees Do the Re-Writing
This can be a tough one. As managers, we often see what needs to be done to make a document better, and we think it will take less time to do the re-writing ourselves. Don’t fall into this trap!
If you want your employees to learn and not become overly dependent on you, let them do the work. (It can also hurt their morale if you don’t trust them to do their own work.) Employees won’t get better if they never have to fix and polish their own writing. While providing specific feedback and letting them do the work may take more time in the short run, in the long run, everyone will be better off, and you will spend less time on writing tasks that aren’t your own.
Meet with the Writer
To help your employees improve their writing, don’t just send back their drafts with your comments attached. Meet with them to discuss their writing. This will allow you to explain your reasoning for the changes you’d like to see. It also allows employees to ask clarifying questions. Remember to also provide positive feedback, so employees will know what they’ve done well. This also helps morale.
Have Employees Take Charge of Their Writing
Writing is a skill, and like any skill, the more you study it and practice it, the better you become.
- Encourage your employees to keep a list of items they need to improve upon.
- Direct employees to places for continual learning.
- Have writing references on hand, such as the Canadian Press Stylebook.
- Provide coaching and training opportunities.
Post and Share Good Writing Examples
While we all need to know our weaknesses to improve, acknowledgement and celebration of our strengths help keep us motivated. They also allow employees to compare their work to good writing, so they know what to keep doing and what might need improving.
Being a good editor will help your employees flourish as writers and reduce your own work burden. What’s not to like?