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Fend off a winter of discontent.

Dec 15, 2009

This is the time of year when people make and take decisions about their future.
Often this leads to people deciding they need to change their jobs or get more out of their current one.
At the same time management teams are looking to set company performance goals and individual targets for the new year.

This makes it more important than ever to make time to evaluate how you and your staff are doing, decide what your goals and aims really are and how they fit with your key values. It is also important to set some time dated milestones, to give the feeling of early momentum in the coming year.

Unfortunately conventional appraisals often do not fulfil this desire to develop or how to make the job rewarding if people are thinking of leaving.

Solutions to this are:

1) Train the management team on how to effectively coach people and ask truly open questions in a way which moves people to a positive action which matches their beliefs and values.
Coaching helps do this, however often people believe they are coaching others when they are actually simply selling them the ideas and goals they want met.
Also it is sometimes difficult for someone to be completely honest and feel free to explore what they want with their immediate manager. Key tips for coaching therefore are:
a) Create rapport. Match the person’s level of energy and only when they are comfortable begin to lead it up if necessary. For example if someone has complaints they need to feel they are listened to and acknowledged in some way, before moving on to asking them for what a solution might be.
b) It is also important to always explain what is involved in the process and that the onus is on the person being coached to come up with the answers. This is especially important if the one doing the coaching is a direct line manager.
c) The person doing the coaching must have the mindset that the person being coached has all the resources they need to come to good decisions. Otherwise they will often give away the fact they want a particular answer to a question through body language and voice tone.

2) Get outside help.
This can be a matter of letting key staff have mentors from outside their team or unit, using professional coaches, or making the coaching and developing of staff a key part of someone’s job in the same way that training often is.
Giving people a hand to help resolve issues, focus on the positive and make good resolutions that are actually kept goes a long way to having staff that are confident they are in the right job and therefore have a strong desire to do well.
The coach also often gets a wider perspective on company issues which prove to be valuable.

If you are interested in developing your leadership or creating more effective teams we would love to have a conversation.

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