That may sound pretty harsh, but let’s think it through before making any critical judgments.
The “manager” works under someone, perhaps a supervisor or the business owner. They have been entrusted to instruct, guide and inspire those that they oversee. It is what the job description states, and it is what is expected.
Three small words, but three difficult tasks for several reasons;
1. Instruct: Not all people learn the same or at the same speed. Communication during training may require different teaching methods to get everyone on the same playing field and understanding what the game plan is. Some players may catch on quickly and others may take longer. Instructing then is not a “one size fits all” task, managers need to understand this and also be trained in how to teach the same tasks in many different ways.
2. Guide: Once they have learned the basic methods of their job positions, the manager will need to continue to guide the employee on the path that they need to stay on for the business to be productive. Each employee will react to being guided differently, some people accept that this is what needs to take place as the manager learns what they are capable of learning. Others will reject being guided, and want to step out on their own once their instruction is done. Again, one method will not work for all employees.
3. Inspire: This is probably the hardest of the three tasks to execute and continue to carry out. What inspires one person may not another (are you surprised?). It takes getting to know each person under your supervision and understand what it is that makes them “Tick” so that you can continue to light the fire to keep them going strong.
Leading employees is a very difficult task and one that takes understanding, patience and commitment to your team players. Too often managers will get frustrated with their staff members because they are not responding as quickly or as they would like them to in one of the areas listed above.
When this happens managers/coaches make incorrect judgments and let employees go, when they really just needed to be coached in a different way in order to understand and respond better.
If you are “called” to lead, coach, manage or supervise there are a few simple rules that will help you to be a leader that your staff will look up and respond to.
1. Great coaches rally the whole team together. You never see a coach that only rallies some of the team players.
2. Great coaches know all team members are equal even though their jobs may be different. Do not play favorites or create superstars as you will be creating your own problems.
3. Great coaches realize mistakes are lessons to be learned whether they are made by a team member or by the coach.
4. Great coaches put their team members first and they do not throw anyone under the bus.
5. Great coaches realize that they are managing people not widgets.
6. Great coaches ask their team questions and let them come up with answers and actions.
There are so many great examples of coaches that you can read about and gain valuable insight and lessons from. Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, Pat Riley, and Phil Jackson are just a few with great coaching lessons. There are books about each of them and each is well worth reading if you are in a coaching/managing position.
One final point I would like to note is when there is a great coach leading the team each team member will be able to tell you that they are valued. That is something that each leader/coach needs to strive for to be successful at serving their team. If they are valued then you are valuable to them.
“Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their players and motivate” ~ Vince Lombardi