A relationship without trust is like a car without gas, you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t get you anywhere.
The relationship that we have with our employees, and the quality of that relationship is like any other relationship. The more time, energy, and effort that we put into building a meaningful relationship, built on mutual respect and trust, the better the results. As leaders we are in a unique position to drive employee performance by shaping and changing attitudes in our employees about the work they do and their unique contribution.
A 2006 Personnel Psychology report revealed that, “Although coaching can facilitate employee development and performance, the stark reality is that managers often differ substantially in their inclination to coach their subordinates.”
Effective coaching is proven to contribute to higher employee engagement. Engaged employees have a higher emotional commitment to the organization and its goals, reducing costs from lost productivity in areas of organizational turn-overs, call-outs, and lack of motivation.
“ A brand is what a business does, reputation is what people remember” ~ Ted Rubin.
As leaders, how our employees feel about their workplace affects the reputation and brand of the organization.
You don’t build a business, you build people, and then people build the business.
Much hoopla has been spouted over the past decade about employee engagement as engaged, connected, and happy employees have been noted to contribute to the bottom line. It doesn’t matter whether you are a non-profit, large corporation, mom and pop operation, or local government, happy employees drive results and help organizations challenged with more work than employees to get stuff done.
So how do we help our employees become happy? A 2014 study at George Mason University examined two factors that they found contributed to employee engagement, connectedness and gratitude. Both factors contributed to levels of absenteeism, which indicates that when managers can increase connectedness by increasing the gratitude that employees receive, they show up and don’t just take up space.
Coaching employee performance through driving hope, job fulfillment, and happiness can help organizations achieve the results they want. When employees feel that someone cares and has their back, they give more and give more joyfully. Happy employees translate to happy customers.
Steps that you can take to coach employee performance:
1)Give Them Something to Look Forward To – Employee Development Planning
Develop a game plan for your employees. Most organizations do a poor job at developing action plans for their employees. During the annual performance review process, goals are usually developed by the manager and then those goals are never followed-up on. Equally as bad, poor goals are developed or no goals. The result, no growth plan is made for the employee.
Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing then you will hit it every time.”
Every employee should have a development plan and this plan should include success partners. Employees should be a part of the planning process and they should let the manager know what their vision is for their future. What are their career goals with the organization?
The manager is responsible for developing an action plan with the employee. The plan should cover 1) career goals; 2) education/training needs/desires; 3) strengths that can be leveraged to accomplish goals; and 4) actions that the manager will commit to in helping the employee successfully achieve their goals.
Partnering with employees shifts the manager relationship from one of a watch-dog, judging past performance, to a co-pilot in the success of current and future employee performance. This shift alone can dramatically shift employee attitudes toward the organization and their manager.
2)Gratitude to Change Attitude – Tell Your Employees that You Appreciate Them
Business optimization expert, Ken Blanchard teaches, “Catch them doing something right.” I tell my clients, praise often and be genuinely appreciative of your employee’s efforts, even when things don’t go as planned.
If you have ever missed the mark then you know how good it feels when someone gives you a “chin up” pep talk. Likely, when a ball team loses a game, the conversation turns to what the team learned from losing and how they will turn it around next time. It feels good to have someone appreciate that you tried. Your employees will appreciate you more, the more you appreciate them.
Driving employee attitudes through gratitude is a highly effective way to increase engagement, loyalty, and performance. When someone appreciates you, then you don’t mind going that extra mile. Much research exists around employee attitudes when leaders express their appreciation for employee efforts versus those leaders that try to drive results through domination and fear of reprisal.
3)Solicit Input – Seek Employee Ideas to Improve Performance
You’d be surprised how silly little things can both upset employees to the point of sabotaging your business or make them happy to the point of going above and beyond to create an exceptional employee experience. Asking your employees for input and having them be a part of the solution can prove to be an effective way to drive positive performance results. The key is that you ask, listen, and come up with solutions together.
When I coach clients, the client comes up with the solution, I listen, and ask lots of questions. I coach the answers from my clients. Employees are the best source of answers because they are actually doing the work and can commit to making change. Coaching your employees means that you actually have to have conversations and listen.
Don’t simply survey staff. If you aren’t willing to do hear what your employees have to say, calmly and objectively, and do what needs to be done to correct painful areas for employees, then don’t bother asking. Think of it this way, if you had fell short in a personal relationship and asked your friend or spouse how they feel and if there is anything that you could do to remedy the shortfall, and then you do nothing with the information – what happens? Hurt feelings and the situation usually worsens.
If you aren’t willing to actually do something about it and show your employees that you care, that you have their back, and that you are partners in achieving organizational goals, then you won’t see the results that you desire.
Effective coaching includes a high level of emotional intelligence on the part of the manager/leader. Feelings of employees are developed from the thoughts that they have based on their experience. If you want them to act better, your role is to help drive better employee feelings through your supportive efforts.
Happiness has a domino effect. Aim to be the start.
Jolene holds Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership and is a certified master success coach. Jolene's writing is continually inspired by the challenges that her clients are facing. She finds constant inspiration in the world around her and is profoundly honored to be living her purpose helping others turn impossible into possible.