In the process of trying things, people learn and through that learning gradually get better. The implication behind ‘gradually get better’ is that you may not always be fantastic at the thing you are trying. This is fine when you are a kid and just learning for the first time, but many adult managers struggle with not being excellent straight away, and as a result many stop trying (which of course is not excellence but let’s not go there).
But what if you could offset your leadership on the path to improving? What if there were things you could do that provided a leadership benefit to your team, while your own personal impact was gradually improving?
It is important to get clear on the benefits you will get from applying some new tools or learning – so that when it gets hard back in the ‘real world’ you will have something to remind you why it’s important to make the time to apply the new approach.
Many of us have a tendency to be very critical of our own performance and to set higher standards for ourselves than we would ever expect from colleagues or team members. This can lead to a feeling that we are not performing to a high enough standard.
There are strategies that can be followed to reduce the impact of this type of thinking.
Managers Can Be Effective Coaches
An interesting article by Jeff Matthews suggests that much of the training provided for manager-as-coaches has not dealt with the particular challenges that managers face in the corporate environment, in particular the power imbalance.
We agree that there are challenges which make it difficult for managers to take coaching skills back to the workplace. But it’s not impossible. Focusing on the ‘when’ of coaching is an important start. That is, involving people in identifying coachable ‘moments.’ We have identified 13 of these which are common to many organisations and there are more. We find that when coaching is used overtly in a range of situations, people are more likely to see the benefits of it. This then makes it more likely that managers will use coaching skills for performance-related situations. In addition, quality relationships do exist and even flourish within organisations which do not necessarily support a coaching framework. They flourish because the manager sets the tone for them to flourish. If managers have built up a substantial base of Relationship Equity, then coaching is naturally happening. They may not call it coaching of course.
So as manager-as-coach, we suggest that you, with your employees set aside regular time to do seven things. As a result, coaching will be happening without it feeling forced.
Every day, all over the world, people spend time in meetings. Meetings get called, people attend and then go to more meetings. However, for all that practicing of meetings, if you ask people in most organisations what they would most like to change it would be the meetings that they attend.
Everyone goes though a phase of trying to fix their meetings at some point or another. These fixes result in lots of activity and many rules such as ‘every topic must have a pre read available before the meeting’, ‘everyone must read the pre-read before the meeting’ ‘ and most often ‘every meeting must have an agenda’.
However, having an agenda doesn’t improve the meeting (which is why many then say, ‘we all need to be prepared’). Take a look at an agenda, and pretend you don’t know anything about it and ask yourself ‘what is this?’ and the only clear answer you will find is often ‘it’s a list’. In this blog we explore why it takes more than just a list to make meetings work.