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.
- Give selected individuals short but pertinent readings on professional strategies. Ask them later what they thought of the reading.
- Meet with individuals and identify personal goals. Ask them how you can help them achieve their goals.
- Form “new hire” focus groups to discuss workplace excellence and what it means in your business.
- Form Learning Circles, peer groups with a variety of skills sets and roles, to share best practices.
- Conduct open meetings—no agenda, just open talk.
- 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.
- Write an “open letter” in which you extol the achievements of your team. Be certain to use specifics.
- Establish peer coaching partnerships to help inexperienced or stressed team members.
- Arrange open forums in which volunteers’ exchange ideas and encouragement to support and motivate one another.
- Design and administer a team “morale” survey.
- 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.
- 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