Ok, maybe “hates” is a strong word. But I got your attention, didn’t I? As leaders, it’s certainly not mandatory for your team members to like you, but it’s difficult to accomplish your goals if people don’t respect you and want to work hard for you.
You can tell yourself that your team hates you because they work long hours, consider themselves underpaid, envy your nice car, or some other feeble excuse. The truth is that your team hates you because you’re a terrible coach.
Here are some telltale behaviors of a bad coach that will surely alienate any team:
- Talks a lot and rarely listens
- Asks leading, biased, and/or judgmental questions
- Gives vague, ill-timed, and/or unbalanced feedback, if at all
- Micromanages and always wants it done their way
There are two types of coaches: Outside-In and InsideOut.
- Outside-In coaches are directive, meaning they tell people what to do and give them the answers.
- InsideOut coaches engage in two-way conversations and ask lots of good questions that help people tap into what they already know to perform at a higher level.
The Outside-In approach isn’t wrong or bad, but when it’s used to the exclusion of other leadership techniques, it will negatively impact the dynamic with your team. Outside-In coaching works best when you as the coach are an expert who can effectively communicate the knowledge and you’re working with a performer who wants the information and is willing to apply it. It’s effective and often necessary when there is an obvious knowledge gap (think onboarding a new employee or introducing a new software) or when there is a crisis, mission-critical, or must-act-now-in-a-very-certain-way situation at hand (think regulatory/compliance violation, medical emergency, or product recall).
In most other circumstances, the InsideOut approach will be far superior to get people focused, raise their confidence, stimulate their passion, and yield better results for individuals and the team. InsideOut coaches don’t blame, judge, insist, assume, or otherwise add to the already incessant, fruitless chatter happening inside people’s own heads. Rather, they help remove, or at least minimize, the obstacles—primarily mental—that prevent people from performing at their best.
With this in mind, now revisit the bullet points at the beginning of this post describing hated leader behaviors. If you recognize any of those patterns in your management style, let me ask you some questions:
- What was the impact on you when you were treated that way by a manager or coach in the past?
- What kind of culture does that behavior(s) promote on your team?
- What would your team’s results look like if more people were firing on more cylinders more often?
- What could you do differently to increase engagement, trust, loyalty, and productivity on your team?
- What’s one small step you’re willing to take and when will you start?
See what I did there?