In 2010, Jimmy Kimmel declared November 17 National Unfriend Day. Take some time to reflect on your relationships. Whether you clean out your own Facebook friends list or just make sure you haven’t been unfriended too many times yourself, use Unfriend Day to check in on the status of your relationships.
One of the most important relationships is between an employee and their manager. Often these relationships can make or break the employee’s experience at a company. 75% of voluntary turnover can be attributed to bad employee-manager relationships.
While a successful relationship between manager and employee doesn’t necessarily involve being BFFs, it is nonetheless a relationship that takes effort and continual introspection. NY Times Bestselling Author Alan Fine asks a key question in evaluating your relationship with your team:
“Would your people hire you to be their leader because of the difference you make in their life?”
Effective coaching can help you answer “yes” more often.
70% of employees said that job-related development influenced their decision to stay at their job. A more in-depth study published by The Manchester Review shows a 32% increase in retention when effective coaching is in practice.
Employees who feel their boss cares about their development are more likely to stay with that boss—and therefore with that company. On the other hand, a bad boss leaves employees feeling overwhelmed, unconfident, and unmotivated.
Make sure your employees really feel how much you care with these 6 coaching tips.
Learn more about how to communicate with your team in this e-book, written specifically with new managers in mind, but packed with great tips for managers at any level.
1. Start with a clear agenda—Have a specific list of what you want to cover, but don’t just run through them. Let the employee share their agenda items first.
Having a clear agenda will help both of you accomplish all the things you find most important. Allowing your employee to talk about their agenda makes them feel heard. However, if the only thing you have planned for your meeting is to listen, you could be caught off guard and appear unprepared—or even uncaring—if they don’t have much on their mind.
2. Ask open-ended questions—Apply the InsideOut mindset and see what employees can bring to light.
Nancy Q. Smith, a learning and development expert with more than 30 years of experience, shares 3 ways not to quit on coaching. She invites us to “withhold guidance until you’re certain it’s warranted. An overly directive approach conveys we don’t care what our team members know or think as we rob them of their ownership and their reason to engage beyond a paycheck and personal relationships.”
3. Listen more than you talk—Easier said than done, but absolutely necessary when empowering direct reports.
Do your best to wait until you’re sure your employee is finished before even thinking about how to respond. Miscommunications happen when people spend time thinking of their response when they should be listening to the rest of the sentence. It might be awkward to have a few seconds of silence before you speak, but you’ll be a much more effective listener. When your direct reports know you are truly listening to them, they will feel a lot more comfortable sharing the bigger problems causing interference.
4. Become comfortable with uncertainty—New and innovative ideas don’t come with guarantees. The key to being a good coach is maintaining a certain level of trust throughout the process and being open to unpredictable outcomes, and yes, even failure.
Gone are the days when being a manager simply meant providing employees with opportunities to succeed or fail. What really sets you apart from the average manager is how you react to and create an environment for these successes and failures.
*Pro tip from Osensei Morihei Ueshiba: “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” The most successful coaches guide others to discover the lessons taught by mistakes.
5. Create a safe environment—Keeping any personal opinions or biases under wraps is crucial for open, honest conversation. Simply listening and observing is a safe bet.
Good leaders know to not let personal biases get in the way of productive work relationships. Listening and gathering every piece of information before forming an opinion will allow you to objectively listen to your employees. There is a noticeable difference with this kind of listening that will lead to much more direct and efficient conversations.
6. Set SMART goals—Make sure what needs to happen next is clear by establishing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals.
Following these steps in goal setting will make your employee’s next step more effective. Make your SMART goals SMARTER by adding evaluation and review. Feedback and follow-up, crucial elements of a InsideOut Coaching Check-In Conversation, will allow you to evaluate and review any goal with your employee to make sure it is still the best Way Forward.
These six tips will improve employee performance, show employees that you are invested in their success, and motive employees to try new things without fear of failure.
An employee who is focused, knows you’re invested in their success, and is motivated to try new things will have success and will be more engaged. And engaged employees are 59% less likely to “unfriend” you as their boss or the organization as a whole.
Learn more about improving employee engagement in this e-book. Or take the quiz at the top of the page to see how you stack up.