Effective managers don’t just manage people; they develop their staff by supporting and challenging team members to utilise their talents, enhance their skills and think for themselves.
In addition, effective managers teach employees how to achieve greater levels of satisfaction at work; they show their staff how to grow not just in their roles but as people. And of course, effective managers lead by example.
In my interactions with managers of varying degrees of competency, I’ve found that the really effective managers can answer these questions positively;
Effective managers incorporate coaching into their style of management either consciously or unconsciously. The essence of being a coach is to help someone reach beyond his or her own perceived limitations and to realise his or her potential.
Unlike other aspects of managing, when you coach someone, you are focused on the individual person, not just on the tasks you want them to complete. Your approach is proactive and focused on long-term sustainable development, not a short-term, reactive quick fix.
Many managers fail to realise that just as customers voluntarily decide to do business with you, staff volunteer their dedication, motivation and enthusiasm. Employees are required to spend a specific number of hours a day at work, but they volunteer ‘who they are at work.’
With either a short-term or egocentric focus, many managers concentrate on daily tasks rather than on creating an environment in which staff will flourish.
As a manager using a coaching style, you can encourage staff to find their own solutions to problems. For example, if someone hasn’t performed a task very well, they will learn where they went wrong, and how to work better next time, if you coach them through the problem rather than simply telling them where he went wrong.
Instead of saying ‘you should have done this’ you might ask them a few ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions e.g. ‘what caused this’ or ‘how would you approach it next time?’ This approach will embed an employee’s learning. All feedback opportunities are coaching and learning opportunities.
Unfortunately, many myopic managers use aggressiveness, stubbornness and the excuse of being too busy, to take action that will ultimately help them become more effective in their role.
Too often managers try to disguise the rut they are in or fight to conceal their insecurities, rather than having the courage to make changes.
Research has shown that coaching as a style of leadership is most effective in developing the trust, respect and capability of staff which in turn leads to higher morale, greater productivity and better results.
Some managers are instinctive coaches; others have consciously worked on developing their skills.
Like any skill, managers can learn to become better coaches and more effective managers, but this is only possible when the manager wants to develop their coaching skills and a good place to start is by answering the above five questions.
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