How honest are you with your employees? As a leader, what approach do you take when coaching them or correcting some of their bad traits? Do they even know when they are performing below average? Not an easy thing to do with your crew, as each employee is different and a unique individual, so they have to be approached in their own way.
It makes sense if you think about it. As you get to know each of your employees, you will find unique people who view their world in their own way. To communicate and mentor them, you have to see it from their side, walk with them and coach from there. Of course, they have to be coachable to make progress, but if they trust you, then together you both can grow and learn.
Bill Parcels, former Super Bowl winning coach of the New York Giants, talked about how he had to coach his quarterbacks, Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler, in two very different ways. At the time, Hosteler backed up Simms, until Simms got injured and they won Super Bowl XXV with Hosteler at the helm.
Anyway, Parcels shared how with Simms, he could get in his face and be tough on him. He would yell and gets Simms fired up and back and forth but they’d move forward. However, with Hosteler, he was different and more sensitive. If he yelled at Hosteler, he would lose him, so he had to just talk to him and use more feeling than hard coaching. In the end, Parcels coached both personality styles and won a Super Bowl. And that is how great leadership works.
Each team member is different. As you spend time with them, getting to know them, pay close attention to how they tick. You will be amazed at what you can learn about someone, just by observing. That learning is ongoing but when going beyond their shell, I always try to then lead how I would want to be led. This is the approach I take:
I. Tell them straight up what you expect of them – If they don’t know, they can’t fix it. Give a team member every opportunity to correct their behavior, before you release them. If they don’t know what they are doing wrong, then YOU NEED TO TELL THEM. Some employees might just be a bad fit overall, and in that case a different approach may be needed. But being honest and fair lets them know that you really care about their wellbeing and want their success. After all, if they succeed, then you succeed.
II. Monitor and observe to see if change is taking place – Once you meet with them about working on the areas they need to improve on, step back and watch. Allow them their space to digest what you just shared and let them ponder the best way to incorporate those changes. You will see over time if they are changing and improving. Give yourself a few weeks to really grasp if they have committed to making the necessary changes.
III. Meet again to discuss progress/regress – After a few weeks and plenty of time to work on the notes from the previous meeting, have a follow up meeting. Again be honest and share the great progress that you see and how it has made them and the team better. If no progress has been made, well then you have to decide if another go around is worth it, or if this is the last meeting with them.
See, to me running a business is more than just earning a profit – we also can’t forget the people that make it happen. Our trucks would never leave the yard without our great staff. So, if I don’t help them grow and advance in various ways, then I am a failure. Make the time to invest in your employees and grow the people who bring life to the business…