Throw away your overbearing, high-pressure management tactics to improve your employees’ performance. Today’s savvy, intelligent workers respond better to coaching, says Marshall Cook, author of “How to be a great coach” (McGraw-Hill Professional Education). In his book, Marshall provides guidelines, best practices and new approaches that focus on partnering with your staff to provide them with the tools they need for success. Here’s a sampling:
- Forget the motivational meetings. The best coaching (and most effective teaching) comes from one-on-one encounters, whether they are scheduled or not.
- Be a good listener. During meetings or conversations, drop everything and give your employee your complete attention. Maintain eye contact. Be patient and resist the temptation to interrupt. “Once you’ve heard and understood, you must respond. If you think the employee is wrong, say so. But, if you don’t respond, employees will soon stop talking.”
- Ask your employees for input. Even if you don’t necessarily share their perspectives, asking for feedback shows respect, humility and gives you the opportunity to receive valuable feedback.
- Provide positive feedback. Correcting employee errors seems to come naturally to many CEOs. But timely, positive feedback goes a long way to boosting morale and energizing your staff. Be specific. “Nice work” isn’t nearly as effective as, “I thought you did a great job of handling the discussion. Your patience and your willingness to hear all points of view were outstanding.”