As an upper-level manager, you are a “coach” of the people that report to you.
And as anyone who’s ever played organized sports knows – not all coaches are created equal… Looking back at the coaches I’ve had over the years, the best ones all shared one common quality:
They were all players of the game once themselves…
Why is this important? Coaches that have actually played the game have a certain level of empathy for what it truly takes to be a winning (A-Level) player. When that empathy is deployed in the right way, the players they lead will always work that much harder for them than the coach that just finished reading the last chapter of his/her “Coaching for Dummies” book.
As a business owner of over 15 years, I have worn many hats. Thankfully, our organization has grown considerably since its inception and many of those hats have been taken over by my other team members.
What’s been particularly helpful for them, however, has been the ability to come to me for feedback or advice in certain situations – taking solace in the fact that I was in their shoes once too.
Granted, you may be managing people that are doing work that you personally have never done previously, and if that is the case I’d suggest finding ways to mentor and lead based on the items within your wheelhouse (teamwork, collaboration, morale, etc…) and augment the rest - exposing them to the very best resources you can - such as seminars/conferences, online courses, or in-person trainings.
The second you begin trying to teach a player a game you’ve never played though is the second you lose all credibility.
Great Coaches Learn From Their Players Too…
The best coaches understand that although the rules of the game may not change, how the game is played may. This is an opportunity for the coaches to step up their own game by adding new ammo to their arsenal – in turn making them a stronger leader/teacher going forward.
How are you “coaching” your team? Are you deploying the right combination of empathy and “teaching what you really know” to inspire those to work their butts off for you? If the answer is no, it’s time to adjust…
Thank you for reading and have a great week!