Leadership Pt 3 – Coaching and Motivating Others

The previous article in this leadership series focused on building trust and reinforcing values. Part 3 builds on this positive momentum through coaching and motivating others.

Leaders are expected to model corporate values and set the bar for desirable employee behavior. Leaders should also be expected to motivate and grow other leaders from within the company. When leaders coach their team, not only does knowledge transfer occur, mission building occurs too. Motivating and coaching are also critical for the future of the business, empowering employees to hone their abilities and prepare for greater roles within the organization.

Coaching is a formalized practice, practiced by thousands of certified professionals. This type of internal coaching is focused on leading by example, demonstrating corporate values, and strengthening relationships with the executive team.

Coach Others

  1. Give selected individuals short but pertinent readings on professional strategies.  Ask them later what they thought of the reading.
  2. Meet with individuals and identify personal goals.  Ask them how you can help them achieve their goals.
  3. Form “new hire” focus groups to discuss workplace excellence and what it means in your business.
  4. Form Learning Circles, peer groups with a variety of skills sets and roles, to share best practices.
  5. Conduct open meetings—no agenda, just open talk.
  6. Don’t forget the easiest strategy of all—ask team members … “How are things going?”

Your coaching should take a more organized approach; schedule regular meetings, record and track goals and outcomes, and consistently take and share notes (or assign someone to this task) from group meetings.

A less organized but no less important way to build future leaders and promote a more cohesive workplace is to make a mindful practice of motivating others. The key is to make motivation a habit, something done without even having to think about it. With the tips below, find the frequency for each that works best, then stay the course.

Motivate Others

  1. Write an “open letter” in which you extol the achievements of your team.  Be certain to use specifics.
  2. Establish peer coaching partnerships to help inexperienced or stressed team members.
  3. Arrange open forums in which volunteers’ exchange ideas and encouragement to support and motivate one another.
  4. Design and administer a team “morale” survey.
  5. Initiate a simple rewards program that offers prizes or recognition—even if you just draw names out of a hat.  Explain that the process symbolizes how you appreciate their hard work.  Note that the prizes can be humorous or donated by team members.  It is the symbolism that counts.
  6. Go a full work week without using attacking or discouraging language when dealing with your team members.

One closing thought is from John C. Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

 

By Christine R. Spray

 

Leadership Pt 2 – Building Trust

The second article in this leadership series is on trust, one of the most critical traits of a strong leader and necessary for success in the workplace.

Trust is defined as the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, or surety of a person or thing – confidence. A 2016 survey by consulting firm PwC found that 55% of business leaders believed lack of trust in the workplace was a foundational threat to their company. Yet, to have a trusting workplace, leaders must first be trustworthy.

Below are exercises that can help develop and strengthen in all leaders. Remember to execute these steps with a clear purpose in mind, and then reflect on each upon completion. Build these exercises into your daily, weekly and quarterly schedule, to ensure completion and achieve greater frequency.

Building Trust

  1. Work with a small group and identify “trust busters.”  Discuss ways to avoid or eliminate trustbusters.
  2. Identify three team members who you trust the least and list those things that you distrust about them. Are there some common threads in all three? What is it that drives you to react to them cautiously?
  3. Over the next few weeks try at least one strategy to build a positive connection with each of the identified team members.
  4. Find a short article on trust and give a copy to each of your team members. Ask them to discuss it with you over lunch or before or after work.
  5. Establish a feedback group in which you discuss the level of trust on your team. Identify positive things that you can do to build trust.
  6. If you made a leadership mistake, admit it, and discuss it with your team. Note how the team reacts.
  7. Define authentic behavior for yourself.  Set some standards for authentic behavior and hold yourself accountable to them.
  8. Make a short audio tape in which you affirm your commitment to building stronger levels of trust. Listen to this tape periodically for motivation and affirmation.
  9. Survey your leadership peers to discover what they do to build trust with their teams.

Driving Positive Work Values

As you continually build and model trust, be mindful that it is only one of the values critical for success. While the specific values of each business will vary, a regular and mindful focus on developing those values is necessary to instill them at all levels of the workplace. Try these exercises with your core leadership team:

  1. Engage team members in casual conversations around the question…” What is a values-driven team?”
  2. Discuss ethical standards with your team members.
  3. Develop a matrix that shows the relationship between your values and your management behavior.
  4. Research managerial ethics. Report your findings to the team.
  5. Identify and clarify team norms or rules of professional interaction.
  6. Link professional behavior to workplace values.
  7. Write down the workplace values that define your approach to leadership.  Share them with your team members.

 

By Christine R. Spray