An effectively managed team is like a well-oiled machine: when employees are on the same page and determined to meet the same goals, a company improves its chances of building customer loyalty, out-shining the competition, and boosting the bottom line. However, like a car with misfiring gaskets, a company with employees who lack proper leadership tends to falter when it comes to achieving objectives of any kind.
Building your repertoire of resources with these 10 employee-coaching tools will help you to be the most effective manager possible.
1. Know your employees
Just as a good mechanic knows about every feature in an engine, good managers must really know their team members. Make a concerted effort to get to know each of your employees on a deeper level. Learn about each person’s strengths and weaknesses; what they excel at and what challenges them; what motivates them and what they find discouraging. Along with formal personality testing, consider having each of your team members complete regular self-evaluations and use the results to ensure you are utilizing each employee in the most effective way possible.
2. Foster transparency
Gone are the days when team members could be informed solely on a need-to-know basis. Being transparent with your employees helps to build trust and form relationships, while also ensuring everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, by starting with transparency at the top, you help to foster a company culture of open communication. Encourage transparency within your team by starting with yourself and asking these key questions:
- “How frequently do I open myself up to others and allow them to get to know me?”
- “Have I clearly explained my values and motivations to my team members?”
- “Am I clear and consistent in the way I make choices and decisions?”
- “Do I tell team members when I make a mistake or discover a fault in my own knowledge base?”
Like most things in a leadership role, you can’t expect your team members to do anything you wouldn’t do. Lead by example.
3. Collaboration is key
Humans are generally competitive by nature. We compete for career positions, for educational gains, in sporting events, etc. As such, competing within an office setting is often second nature. However, by encouraging collaboration and recognizing the achievements of the group rather than focusing on individual accomplishments, you’ll be able to foster a culture that not only thrives as a team but one that also inspires members to turn to and rely on each other.
4. Create clear objectives and goals
Clearly defining objectives and goals is virtually impossible without strategic planning. After gathering your team, start with big-picture thinking and encourage members to discuss and brainstorm ways to meet your big-picture goals. This is a good time to draw from individual strengths and ask for the team’s dedication and commitment. Once the larger goals are identified, develop a timeline that includes milestones and benchmarks to help you gauge your team’s progress and success.
5. Celebrate successes
Celebrating milestones and benchmark goals is one of the best ways to keep your team on track, motivated, and inspired. Along with commemorating these achievements, make an effort to celebrate the individual successes of your team members. By highlighting everything from work anniversaries and personal achievements to professional gains and employee wins, celebrating success is a powerful tool for supporting team motivation and morale.
6. Build mutual trust
At the root of all good coaching relationships lies a foundation of balanced trust. While things like fostering transparency can help to establish this trust, you may also want to have an open-door policy; be clear, friendly, and non-judgmental in each coaching meeting; and make an effort to show your employees care, consideration, and interest.
7. Pave the way for success
You can’t expect a car to run properly if you don’t treat it well (i.e., give it gasoline, oil, regular maintenance, etc.). Similarly, you can’t expect your team to operate effectively without laying the groundwork for them to do so. Therefore, it’s critical for your team to have access to training, software, resources, strategies, materials, and anything else they might need to find success.
8. Be forthcoming in your feedback
Recall your own rise to success. Would you be where you are today without feedback? As one of the most critical aspects of employee coaching, feedback has the power to make or break team success. What have your employees done well? What strategies haven’t worked? What needs improvement? Giving constructive feedback can be tricky. Remember to craft your message carefully and work to refine your feedback skills over time.
9. Accept feedback
As another means of leading by example, a strong employee coach must not only be willing to accept feedback, but also eager to make the most of it. During meetings and one-on-one sessions with employees, consider asking for ways you can improve in your role as coach to help your employees reach the performance and behavioral goals you’ve set together. During the discussion, keep an open mind, remain flexible, and maintain perspective.
10. Manage inter-team disputes
Despite your efforts in building a unified, transparent team, there will inevitably be conflicts among your team members. Whether it’s an issue of certain employees not pulling their weight or a case of minor office bullying, it’s your responsibility to keep an eye out for interpersonal upheaval within your team. Make an effort to fully understand these issues, and implement a procedure for dealing with and avoiding these kinds of problems in the future.
In an effort to ensure you’re using all of your resources to best manage your team, consider developing a “toolkit” for employee coaching. Not only will this act as a quick, go-to reference in times of need, it will also be a valuable asset you can continue to build as you gain additional experience in leadership and management.