There is a wealth of development and knowledge sharing available within our own organisation which we rarely seek to explore as a learning opportunity. This can come in the form of shadowing or observing a manager or team throughout their working day to gain a better understanding of a particular role, or function within an organisation. This can be an invaluable ‘day in the life’ type experience and can be made available to individuals within their own team/department or elsewhere in the organisation to enable them to gain the necessary experience to develop themselves accordingly.
If this is something you are interested in you should make contact with the departmental manager or individual you wish to visit/shadow. It is suggested that you do this in writing (email is fine too). You should provide some information relating to your reasons for your request, what you would hope to learn as a result of your attendance including any specific skill or knowledge. This will help the manager to consider your request and ensure any subsequent visit is designed to be as rewarding for you as possible.
Shadowing – things to remember
- To explain clearly your reasons for your request and why you feel it will be of benefit to you.
- To detail any specific area you are keen to learn about or skill you wish to develop.
- To remember that the manager you are requesting this of is probably very busy so do not expect an immediate reply. However, if you haven’t heard back after a week do politely follow up your request.
- To be respectful of everyone you meet with in the department and show your appreciation for the time spent with them.
- Do remember that you may be visiting an area where dealing with confidential information is part of routine business. You may be asked as a result to sign a confidentiality agreement and in some instances you may be asked to step out of any meetings you may be shadowing, due to the content being discussed. Do not be offended if this occurs but respect the fact you are being given access to a live working environment where some information may be restricted.
- Do ask questions to maximise the benefit from your visit.
- Do spend time afterwards reflecting on your time and identifying learning outcomes – you may want to share these with your manager at your next review or document them in your CPD portfolio.
If you have had a positive shadowing experience, why not tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org and your story might be featured on our latest News pages