In the epic words of Bill Gates, “Everyone needs a coach.” Most employee learning takes place on the job, and usually not through formal training programs. As a result, managers need to be ready to step up, guiding the development of their team on a daily basis.
However, many leaders do not spend much time coaching their staff. If you want to help your team and company get ahead, here are some tips to make you a better coach.
You've probably offered your staff suggestions to help them improve at work. But are you taking the time to improve your own leadership abilities? Do these three things on a daily basis to become a better leader and help your team work more effectively.
1. Express your expectations clearly.
You probably didn't assess your staff's mind-reading skills when you hired them, so it's unfair to expect them to read your mind on the job. Instead, work on expressing your expectations clearly, both verbally and in written documents. By being precise, you'll eliminate the need for your staff to guess what you want them to do, and reduce the number of times when they inevitably guess wrong. By clarifying expectations, you also increase accountability for other members of the team, which makes handling problems that arise easier.
2. Spend time with your team.
It isn't possible to lead once in a while; you need to lead your team every day. This means that, no matter how many demands your managers are placing on you, you need to spend time with your team on a frequent basis. You need to be involved to critique and give direction in the moment, as issues arise; fail to do that, and you'll have the unpleasant task of giving surprise negative feedback months later at an annual review. Spending time with your team also lets you get to know them better and understand the best way to leverage their talents to the benefit of the business.
3. Focus on others, not yourself.
Leadership is about drawing the best out of other people. This means letting go of your concerns about yourself. It also means encouraging action, not standing in the way, so work on creating an environment that encourages innovation and creative thinking rather than discouraging them. Apply this focus to serving the needs of others at external organizations, too. Volunteer with a community service or social organization that's meaningful to you. You'll learn how to lead people who don't have to follow; bring those more subtle leadership tactics back to the office where they'll help you become more effective at leading your direct reports.