Topic of the Week Bosses Don't Have to Be a Four Letter Word: Coaching Strategies
DO regular reviews.
DO allow for mistakes.
DO provide positive feedback too.
DON'T wait for problem.
Talk to many employees and they complain that they are either taken for granted or taken advantage of by their company. Talk to many bosses and they say that a paycheck should be motivation enough for employees. After over 50,000 emails from employees and bosses, I've heard both arguments more times than I can count. Is it any wonder that getting everyone energized and focused is one of the toughest challenges an organization faces? Which reminds me of a guy who was driving his car on a highway in Washington State when nature called. He pulled his car to the side of the road and ended up falling down a 30 foot embankment where he was trapped for several hours. Finally a special unit of the Renton, WA Fire Department was able to rescue the guy.
People will fall down at work and need help getting back on their feet. The question is, will someone be there to pick them up? The answer should be yes, but most organizations don't address their weakest link, the breakdown in the relationship between bosses and employees. Here are four strategies to get your organization to be more productive AND more humane (in my experience the two always go hand in hand).
DO regular reviews. Okay, I've been accused of being a feedback junkie. I think that feedback allows you to work at a highest level. For most organizations the annual performance review is a Kabuki dance that happens every few years and often has little follow up to actually change behavior. I'm a big believer that feedback should be given regularly, monthly at a minimum. Great performance takes time, effort and lots of atta-boys and atta-women.
DO allow for mistakes. Most organizations talk a good game about thinking outside the box, but they come down like a ton of brinks on any mistakes that happen. The famous quote from Samuel Goldwin sums it up best, "I don't want any yes men around me. I want people to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs." Right Sammie. You can ask for perfection or innovation, it's ridiculous to expect that you can get both.
DO provide positive feedback too. Bosses are really good at either
never giving compliments or doing the famous, "You're doing a good job, but..." Realize that once your employees are "but-trained" they'll seldom hear whatever comes before it, because they're bracing for the criticism they know is just ahead.
DON'T wait for problem. Organizations are really good at denying that a problem exists until it becomes a $5 million lawsuit. Learn how to spot area of concern long before they become a problem.
Talk them through. Heck, even do scenario planning, where you talk about potential problems that could arise and brainstorm about the ways that you can address them early and often.
Follow these tips and your people won't need to be rescued at work. They'll be in good hands, yours.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him firstname.lastname@example.org.