There is a lot of buzz about management and leadership styles today. While we’ve experienced changes in the workplace, people have always wanted to be treated as human beings. Respect, truly listening, and general compassion for our fellow humans win the day.
Employees across the board are more vocal today about how they are treated, so be careful about following shiny objects. There are different leadership styles that work well. There is clear evidence that when all the decisions are made by a given few or when employees are told exactly what to do all the time, it’s demotivating. When they don’t have input about the culture of their work environment, its demotivating. They quickly become disengaged because they have no say or are given an opportunity to contribute to their work tasks. None of us want to be told what to do, and neither do our employees.
Coaching is a Participative and Situational Influencing Style
The coaching profession has exploded in recent years, and it is diversified across many different fields and industries. Some old practices are now relabeled to new and what’s called exciting terms. Everyone is a coach, and coaching is the new thing to discuss.
It is a noble profession and a management method that some of us have successfully taught and practiced for decades. To be good at it requires education, experience and some school of hard knocks. Just because you’ve attended a few classes and got the plaque on the wall, it takes more to walk the talk.
Coaching is a participative and situational management style that requires managers to help others enhance their own performance. They help the individual or team unlock their potential by supporting them to learn vs. telling them what the answers are. Fostering an environment to learn and think independently contributes to developing the individual or team to reach their fullest potential. The coach is a facilitator, helping the team members to achieve their results.
Building Trust in Teams to Reach High Performance
Building trust in a team requires the leader to foster trust-building actions and decisions. When the leader stops thinking that people are there to be controlled or managed, this starts to open the culture by people not fearing a reprisal from the leader when they question something or take actions that turn out to be wrong.
If you can’t trust people to do their jobs well, then one of the following situations needs to be addressed:
- You hired the wrong person to fit your organization’s culture and style of business
- You have the wrong person in the wrong position
- You haven’t sufficiently trained them
- You have a manager who can’t let go of power and control
Progressive Coaching Focuses on Employees Strength
When you trust people to do the job, and it doesn’t come out right, that’s a coachable moment. If you have good people in the wrong positions, you need to go back to the job description and ensure you have it correct. If your people are properly trained for the position, look closely at the manager. Maybe they just can’t let go of power and control. There are different leadership styles that work well.
When there are emotional or unhappy employees in your business, at some time they’ve tried to tell you about it. Maybe your ears turned off, or your reaction signaled them to think twice about bringing it up again. Spirited people may request more than once to change a system or process but eventually become frustrated and shut down because they don’t feel heard. Jumpstarting them again can be tough to do.
A coach wants to know what’s behind the conversation. What’s behind the emotions? A coach is genuinely an interested listener. They make it easy for people to talk to them about almost anything. Effective listening is a learned skill set. Also, learning to listen isn’t always about what’s said. Watch what people do; that’s always revealing.
When your employees are improving, and the culture of the business supports learning and teaching, their enthusiasm and abilities to be effective are greater. They become more connected to the business and its mission and purpose.
A coach creates a focused approach to developing their people. Sure, we want to get business results, but that only happens after your people do what they do. As I’ve said before, good people can do extraordinary things when given a chance to succeed. Focus on each employee’s strengths and help them unleash their natural talents.
Answer Man to the Rescue: Stop Giving All the Answers
Managers are often promoted because they were problem solvers in their previous position. They had the ability to fix things when they were broken. The mindset is that it’s typically much faster to do the work themselves or faster to tell someone what to do vs. showing them how to do it. This management approach is a real challenge in an organization striving to move forward with new leadership styles.
Nothing is worse than training a staff that you have all the answers all the time. Its debilitating to the team and a significant factor in staff turnover. In my article, Answer Man to the Rescue I point out that you are not superman or superwoman who has all the answers all the time.
Learning to let go of power and control requires the leader to delegate. You want team members to own the solutions. Being a good coach means helping them develop the best possible solutions that are good for the customer and good for the business.
The more you can engage your employees to contribute to the decision-making process and encourage them to speak up in a safe environment, the more they feel connected and empowered.
I know some of you are thinking, wait a minute, it’s much easier and faster if I just give them the answer and then move on to other issues. The real challenge is that you are not creating problem solvers who then solve them without ever asking you. You are robbing your employees of the opportunity to figure it out, and that’s such a waste of human talent and energy. You, then are the problem, not the solution.
Phycological Management Practices That Foster Business Development
In my article, “Improving Your Employees Phycological Income,” I address pieces to the puzzle of delegation and accountability through empowerment. This is important steps to learn how to help teams perform at a high level. The magic of dimes exercise is a useful tool to help your leaders transfer from “what’s going wrong” to what’s going right” and develop some focus on the things that matter the most.
Intentionally becoming positive is a practice all by itself and tough to master for many. Instead of always pointing out what’s wrong, the coach accepts these instances as coachable moments and learning opportunities. The discussion centers on the mistake, how it happened, and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. We fix the source of the problem, so it doesn’t happen again and stay out of the emotional upheaval.
Open and Direct Communications Style
In today’s world of people management, there are new rules and new paradigms of people being sensitive to certain words and phrases. To say you shouldn’t patronize or be critical of others is an understatement. It all boils down to what Dale Carnegie wrote in his 1936 book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Treat others like you want to be treated. Empowering and coaching others isn’t a new concept.
Whether you are a small business owner, a leader in a business, or possibly a company preparing to scale your model to reach larger goals, mobilizing and cultivating your human assets is key to your success.
There are duplicatable steps to implement empowerment. You can read more about it in this article. “Conditions of Empowerment.” This provides a general guideline for the information. Make it clear what teams are responsible for by following:
- Specify the Desired Results
- Set Some Guidelines
- Identify Available Resources
- Define Accountability
- Determine the Consequences
By using an open and direct communication style, you can make it clear what your people are responsible for. Give them the room to go about it their own way.
Implementation isn’t always easy and there usually isn’t a clear road map. Habits can be hard to break, so recognize if you always see the negative in a situation. You’ll have to catch yourself if you start making negative remarks. You can relearn how to make a better and positive style of reply under nearly all circumstances through conditioning. Just do what an athlete does to get better, they perform the same moves every time under certain conditions, then tweak the responses to gain the maximum results they’re seeking. It is possible to phrase everything in constructive terms – even a negative sentiment. Practice makes perfect!
It just makes common sense that people are better motivated when they are happy and focused. It’s also a lot more fun to work around teams of people who are excited to come to work every day and who share a common goal.
The real success of a leader today is easily measured by the success of the people that work for them.