Think back to the best boss you ever had. What set her apart from all the others? Did she guide you through a difficult work assignment? Was she the one who recognized your aptitude for numbers? Could you approach her for help with interpersonal relationships at work? Chances are she possessed most, if not all, of the following qualities shared by all great managers.
Go Team Go!
Great managers recognize coaching as an essential part of their toolkit in bringing out the best in employees. Coaching is a process by which an employee is guided from one level of competence to a higher one. An organization’s strong coaching culture has been shown to increase business performance and employee engagement according to a 2015 survey from the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the Human Capital Institute (HCI). The study reported that organizations with a strong coaching culture enjoyed increases in business performance in the following five areas:
- Improved team functioning
- Increased engagement
- Increased productivity
- Improved employee relations
- Faster leadership development
How does one become a good coach? It isn’t as easy as emulating what your favorite college football coach is doing on the field. Rather, find someone in your organization who has a reputation as a good coach and ask him about his management tactics. You will likely hear words like, “trust,” “respect” and “communication.” Coaching is built on a solid foundation of mutual respect and understanding. Coaching involves helping employees arrive at their own solutions to problems rather than telling them what they should do and giving them answers to questions. Ask employees open-ended questions allowing them to think about their actions and how possibly doing them differently may lead to the desired outcome. Finally, remember to take yourself out of the equation as the focus is always on the employee, not you.
Play To Their Strengths
If you read last week’s blog, you already know great managers can identify an employee’s strengths and put the employee in a position in which to capitalize on those strengths. In a strengths-based workplace, everyone is a winner. Employees are more engaged, and the employer benefits from increased profits and employee retention. A great manager carefully considers employees’ strengths when assembling teams to ensure the right mix of doers, thinkers, planners and dreamers.
Yes, you read that correctly, “EQ” not “IQ.” Professors Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, considered the leading experts in emotional intelligence research, define emotional intelligence as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” A TalentSmart survey tested EI alongside 33 other workplace skills and found that EI was the single best predictor of performance. The survey found 90% of top performers were high in EI as opposed to the 20% of bottom performers who possessed EI. The Harvard Business Review referred to emotional intelligence as a “ground-breaking, paradigm-shattering idea that is one of the most influential business ideas of the decade.” Self-awareness and empathy, two traits shared by those with a high EQ, enable managers to understand, express and manage workplace relationships resulting in greater workplace harmony and productivity.
See The Forest And The Trees
Great managers understand a company’s reason for being (its mission), what it hopes to accomplish (its vision) and how it’s going to get there (its objectives). A great manager ensures his direct reports achieve their goals in support of the department’s objectives. Since we are talking about coaching, let’s get back to college football. There is a reason Nick Saban, head coach at University of Alabama, is the country’s top-paid college football coach. He’s great at coaching and some would argue, the best coach of all time. Coach Saban has an uncanny ability to focus on the present situation in front of him on the field in a way that leads to the endgame (no pun intended) and a resulting four national championships during his tenure as head coach. He constantly refers to the acronym “WIN” meaning “What’s Important Now.” He has stated, “Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.” In other words, he sees the importance of trees to the forest.
Get Back On The Horse
Even great managers get knocked down every now and then. The resiliency of a great manager is what sets him apart from the others. 2020 has tested everyone and thrown pretty massive punches at managers. The great ones got right back up, brushed off the dirt, learned from the challenges presented by the pandemic and moved forward. A resilient manager quickly perceives and responds to changes, whether it is a new business opportunity or the arrival of a pandemic. Employees take their cue from their manager. If a manager copes with and responds well to a stressful situation, it is likely his direct reports will too.
Get Great HR Today
There are great managers, and there are great HR consultants who help those managers do their jobs. Smart HR consultants can partner with your managers as an added resource to enable them to achieve their full potential. Your managers may need assistance with a particularly sensitive employee relations’ issue, staying abreast of quickly-changing employment laws or handling an entire HR function like benefits administration or recruitment. Whatever your organization’s particular needs, Smart HR can help. Call today at (703) 952-3177.