Management & Leadership – Doing it right in the 21st Century
The Old Way – Command and Control
Although workplaces and management styles have come a long way in the last decade, the command and control style of management remains common practice in many companies. This management approach basically means that employees are told exactly what to do, when to do it and even how it should be done. The manager is in charge, has all the answers, and fixes all the problems.
It’s no surprise that plenty of people find this approach demotivating – and that workplaces with a command-control style are rated as pretty unsatisfying. When it comes down to it, none of us really enjoys being told exactly what to do, and neither do our employees. When people feel as though they have no say and are given no opportunity to contribute outside of their work tasks, then they switch off and become disengaged.
The command and control approach is being phased out for a more collaborative and engaging style – a ‘Coach’ approach or being a manager-coach. This is a positive shift – as long as we are clear about what the new expectations of managers really are.
Coaching – What does it really mean?
The coaching profession has exploded in recent years, diversifying across many different fields and industries. All of these people are dedicated to helping others achieve their goals, improve aspects of themselves or their business, or move forwards from where they are today.
In a work environment, the role of a manager-coach can be described as :
– achieving results and excellence through others rather than personally taking care of things, and
– focusing on developing employees in order to achieve business results rather than micro-managing their every move.
Adopting coaching as a management style requires managers to help other people unlock their potential and enhance their own performance. It’s about supporting people to learn instead of telling them what the answers are.
The New Way – Coaching for Success
The new way and mindset of the manager-coach is to create an environment that fosters learning, independent thinking and opportunities to contribute. The manager-coach doesn’t want to be seen as a solution provider. Rather, they want to be seen as a facilitator, paving the way for team members to achieve their results.
Coach managers are a role model for others. They are excellent listeners and communicators, providing perspective and encouragement whilst setting high standards and expectations.
There are 8 ways to make coaching behaviours part of what you do:
Stop thinking about employees as people that need to be controlled or managed and give them the latitude to take actions and make decisions. Trust is a vital component of this equation. If you can’t trust people to do their jobs well, then you either have the wrong people in the jobs, or you have the right people but you haven’t trained them sufficiently. A third option is that the people are properly skilled, but the manager just can’t let go.
Listen, listen listen. If there are unhappy or disgruntled people in your business, you can guarantee that at some stage they’ve tried to tell you what the problem is. It’s likely you weren’t listening (or didn’t want to listen), or perhaps your initial reaction made the person think twice about bringing the problem to you. Truly listening is one of the greatest skills to develop, regardless of your role. Good listeners are genuinely interested, convey empathy, and want to find out what’s behind the conversation. Great coaches are great listeners -without exception.
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