10 signs that you need a Leadership Coach
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10 signs that you need Leadership Coaching
By Mark Wager
The number one factor in determining if an employee is happy in their role is the state of the relationship between the staff member and their immediate Line Manager. If this relationship is strong and the employee feels valued and respected then the employee is more likely to stay. However, if the relationship is poor then the employee is likely to leave. This is regardless of other factors such as money, career prospects, work conditions, all of which we usually consider vital for employee retention. We have all been there and worked in poor conditions at some point because we have a great boss. Unfortunately we have also experienced the opposite.
The most worrying thing about this is that a lot of poor relationships between staff member and Manager are not recognised. I’ve coached a lot of managers who are just oblivious to the state of their relationships. They think everything is fine, completely unaware that employees are searching around for a new job. This is a clear illustration of poor leadership skills. Managers are often hired on the strength of their subject matter expertise and rarely on their ability to manage people. Now this approach is fine if the Manager receives training on how to lead and get the most out of his team, but this seldom happens. A lot of companies often consider leadership skills as something that comes with experience or even worse they send a Manager on a one or two day course and expect everything to be fixed when they come back to work. Sadly the end result is usually the opposite.
Leadership is a series of skills and behaviours that can be learned, and once learned these skills can change an average team into a high performing team, a sterile workplace into a high-performing workplace and employees who want to leave into employees who want to stay. All this can happen with just some time spent on expert Leadership Coaching with someone who is experienced in developing valuable people skills such as team building, motivating, conflict and performance management.
If you are still not sure you would benefit from some Leadership Coaching then have a read of these ten signs that you need help.
1. Your team does not share your enthusiasm
I’ve seen a lot of managers who are incredibly enthusiastic about the direction their organisation is going and their role in making it happen but they just find it difficult getting their team to share their enthusiasm. In many cases when enthusiasm is not met with the same passion in return then the original enthusiasm is dampened and the gap widens between the Manager and their team. When enthusiasm is not shared there is a disconnect, communication breakdown resulting in reduced production. We all have different drivers and motivators. It is just a matter of knowing what these drivers are so that a Manager can deliver the message in a more effective and productive way.
2. You avoid performance issues
This is the most common situation that I hear from Managers. I’ve seen Managers knowingly avoid performance issues and more commonly I've even seen Managers lie to themselves about why they are avoiding these issues. I’m too busy. It's not a big deal. It will sort itself out. Do any of these excuses sound familiar? Well that’s exactly what they are – excuses. Not only is it your job to deal with poor performance but it’s your obligation to help the poor performer and the people who have to work with a poor performer. Managing poor performance is a specialist skill that requires knowledge of behavioural types and handling personal delicate situations effectively. All of this can certainly be learned.
3. There is no clear line in the sand
All Managers have a clear idea of what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. If staff come to work five minutes late would it be a big deal? What if they come in an hour late? The problem occurs when those expectations are not made clear to the team and as a result so called performance issues arise. The same issues that most Managers try to avoid.
4. Less than five per cent of your time is spent talking to your staff regarding non-work related topics.
Getting to know your team as individuals instead of as roles is vital for any high performing team. You need to know who they are and what motivates them, what they want from life. You can’t do this through a questionnaire you have to talk to people. If you are spending less than forty minutes a day doing this then you are doing it wrong and you need assistance to perform better.
5. Your team likes you but doesn’t respect you.
As people we have an inherent need to be liked, yet sometimes this need can cloud our judgement and prevent us from performing our duties as Managers. A Manager can operate if he or she is not liked but they are dead in the water if the team doesn’t respect them.
6. You cannot summarize your strategy in one short sentence.
Think about what you are trying to achieve as a Manager, your end goal for your team. It may be producing something or achieving a monetary target. Now explain your strategy. By this I mean the the long-medium range movements that need to occur in order to make this happen. If you are unable to explain your strategy in one simple sentence then your team will not buy into it.
7. When you go home you moan to your partner about work
I’ve seen relationships break up because of the stress that work has on their family life. It’s unnecessary and completely avoidable. In addition to your obligation to your organisation and your team you have a greater obligation to yourself. Do not be one of those Managers who burn out just because they didn’t get the right type of support.
8. There is no conflict in your team.
A lot of Managers think this is a good thing but this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Not only should you be prepared to face conflict, you should be encouraged by it because conflict raises concerns before they become issues. Conflict challenges the status quo and generates innovation while creating positive change. What you need is the skills in order to manage the conflict in a way that is positive rather than negative.
9. You do not have time for training
If you have no time for training either for yourself or to train your team then you are doomed. Training is not something you do when you are not busy. It is something that should be a vital part of your business. You must constantly strive to get better as individuals and as a team. Do this and the right type of training will be the best investment you will ever make.
10. Your team is not happy
I’ve seen happy teams produce very poor results but in my twenty five years as a Manager I have never ever seen an unhappy team produce positive results. Not only are people your most valuable assets they are the only assets that decide themselves what level of effort and commitment they put into their roles. Learn how to motivate people and you will be amazed at the results your team will achieve.
Leadership Coaching is increasingly becoming a more productive and cost-effective alternative to attending courses. Coaching enables a specific action plan to be implemented and more importantly learning can be more easily incorporated into the role because .discussions are on practical examples rather than on Leadership theory. Never forget if you are struggling with managing people it’s just because you haven’t yet learnt the necessary skills. The ability you have demonstrated in becoming a subject matter expert is the same ability that can make you become a quality Manager. Remember, all you need is some coaching and you will go miles further.
To put it in simple terms I will use the words of John F Kennedy
“Leadership and learning are indispensible from each other”
About the author:
Mark Wager is New Zealand's leading Leadership Coach. To contact Mark please use the enquiry form below
Posted: Wednesday 8 May 2013