Your employees are your greatest asset, so it’s your job to keep them motivated and highly productive. In How to be a Great Coach, author and university professor Marshall Cook offers twenty-four hands-on lessons to do just that. Here’s a sampling:
- Be accessible. That’s not to say your door should always be open. You should schedule no-hassle times when you’re free to think without interruption. But at all other times, employees should feel free to pop in and talk. You’ll learn more from such informal one-on-one sessions than a dozen structured meetings.
- Celebrate differences. You can motivate, teach, lead and guide your employees, but you can’t control them-and you shouldn’t want to. Coach for results, giving clear directions and defining the goal. Then trust them. Part of your job is to learn your workers’ individual work styles and allow them to do things their way whenever possible. You don’t want compliant slaves. You want effective, creative and competent colleagues.
- Reward what you want, and be fair. It sounds so simple, but many business owners and managers forget it: encourage peak performance by rewarding it. Be fair, setting objective performance standards and rewarding accordingly. But note: a “fair” system doesn’t mean the rewards will even out over time. All workers must have an equal opportunity to compete for rewards, but the rewards must go to those who earn them.
- Deliver bad news personally. Most managers hate to be the bearer of bad tidings. But bad news is inevitable. Duck the responsibility of delivering it yourself, and you will earn a reputation for being evasive and even cowardly.