(By Loyd Ford) If you’re like me, you don’t always have the answers, and it can be scary to have the responsibility of other people, their lives, careers, and how they feel about their work today. After all, we all know that every employee is walking around carrying more computing power in their hands than NASA had when they went to the moon. So, how do you create more value as a manager and consistently give yourself an edge when managing and motivating people? Even more, how do you encourage individuals to help you reach goals? Here are some keys to think about so you can help everyone and elevate your coaching game.
- Ask questions of your team and listen. When you plan ahead and ask good questions, it gives your team members great opportunity to come up with strong answers focused on the direction you are traveling as a team. Seek to understand more than to be understood. This will also help you to recognize standouts, critical thinkers, and high performers. When you train your team to provide answers and be a part of solutions, you are going to win a lot. That starts with asking good questions.
- Recognize the negative and pull your team together with the positive. It has been said that in trying to eliminate negatives in workplace environments you can reduce the negatives only to about 23%. Recognizing negatives in a meeting, first by allowing and encouraging your team to speak their mind — no matter the opinion about things that are wrong — and then moving directly onto positive ground is powerful. A positive attitude from you as the manager — no matter the situation — also carries a lot of positive weight. Doing this over time allows you to generate an upward view of all challenges and encourages your team forward, believing what is important: That they are empowered with positive impact.
- Speaking of empowering employees, empower your team. It’s not enough just to ask questions. Coaching individuals, or your entire team, works best when you use encouragement and empowerment as “twin tools” to propel careers forward. Notice how I didn’t say only to accomplish things for the company. Taking the time to make sure individuals know you care about them, believe in them, and empower them is priceless.
- Guide individual conversations and team meetings. Managers should work hard in advance of interactions (and especially meetings) to have a plan to guide conversations. It’s great to bring ideas to a team, but it doesn’t always result in the biggest buy-in. To do that, employees may need to feel they are discovering the answers themselves, so they have a deeper connection to the mission. A team where everyone contributes is much harder to stop than one where orders are only given.
- Learn and sharpen continuously. You’ve heard this before. It’s never too late to learn. Learning is your investment in yourself. Managers have a deeper responsibility to improve their skills, knowledge, and competency so they are consistently bringing value to the team. Oftentimes managers work with people who are more talented than they are in our business. Our gift is to always work to become better at radio, communication, and people connectivity, and to encourage them to perform at a higher level so they feel our value and more of their own.
Everyone on your team wants to win. If not, they are in the wrong place. More than wanting to win, the individuals on your team want to be valuable and thought of as valuable. Everyone wants to be respected. And they want to contribute. As managers, we are held to a higher standard of responsibility.
We must use every tool in our tool box to help them achieve more and to help them feel they are making valuable contributions to the goals we find important as a team. If you do this well, you will strengthen your team and bring them together with a feeling that cannot be stopped.
Loyd Ford has worked as a programmer in markets across the U.S. and spent over a decade working as a ratings strategist for Americalist Direct Marketing. He runs his own pure play digital platform and has a podcast. Reach him at Rainmaker Pathway; 864.448.4169 or Ford@RainmakerPathway.com.