Managing people can be a mixed blessing at times. They can frustrate you, almost to the point of purposeful sabotage. Many managers and supervisors get swept up in the day-to-day “must-do” that they get burnt out trying too hard getting the work out of the door.
Most people know that the bulk of workplace learning happens doing the job itself, not in the sterile environment of a classroom or the 2 dimensional flat screen approach to many legislative-driven learning initiatives, such as Health and Safety.
If people learn best by doing the job, then the most powerful tool in any manager’s briefcase should be coaching. Coaching, when done well, can liberate people to make their own decisions about their work, rather than be told what to do. We call this empowerment, however this seems to me to be a word that is thrown around liberally to describe a fantasy work environment that most managers and staff smile sagely at as the stuff of wishy-washy consultant-speak. How to start coaching, if you are unfamiliar with this skill? Here are some steps to get you coaching:
Step 1. Grab a book on Coaching Any book on coaching skills will give you great insights for your approach to this exciting topic. If that will take too much time for you, here are a few more steps you can take while you finish the book.
Step 2. Observe Step back and just look around you at what your team are doing. Are you noticing the good things, or the bad? If you always notice the bad, fight the urge and look for good until you find something. Don’t speak just make notes. Practice observing behaviour at regular times of the day until you have noticed enough good and bad that you no longer have to make notes.
Step 3. Ask and then Listen Ask questions and listen to the answers you get. Resist the natural response of getting involved in a discussion. Just listen and take notes about what you have heard. Your team will be curious about your questions. Questions are a great way to focus attention to where we want focus. Your team will start to know that this is where your priorities are now
Step 4.Ask some more Questions Questions have a powerful effect upon us all. When we are gently challenged by a searching question, we will want to find the answer and in this way we grow, learn and become more productive and creative in our problem solving.
Have your best week ever
Mervyn Murray is an International Leadership Development Specialist and Keynote speaker.