What is the number one step managers need to take to get the best results from their employees? The manager needs to speak weekly with each teammate for at least ten to fifteen minutes, one-on-one, to learn how the employee views their work, how enthusiastic they are about their work and what they view as their primary responsibilities.
Once a manager is having regular, supportive meetings where the manager is "inquiring" with the employee, not just "telling" the employee, they are ready to use coaching questions to inspire greater success.
A coaching question I pose to the leader is, "how does the employee's view of what is possible compare with yours?" The leaders we are coaching have access to information that not only allows them to see a piece of the bigger picture, it requires them to do so. However, the leader needs to have regular conversation with the employee to learn the employee's perspective, ideas and their observations from the field. This exploration creates a synergistic effect and if not tended to, the organization's potential, the leader's potential and the employee's potential all will fall short of what could be.
When the leader invests regularly in inquiring about the employee's thoughts about work they are taking an important step in creating a coaching culture. Creating a coaching culture is a top priority in progressive organizations.
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What if an employee has low expectations of themself? The manager can use inquiry to learn why. Perhaps the employee has a history of low expectations, has experienced many failures, is pessimistic, lacks resources, or engages in self-defeating self-talk. These issues will stand in the way of peak performance until they are addressed directly.
Regular, supportive coaching style conversations between the manager and their direct reports help people see themselves as winners. When the manager adopts a coaching style of inquiry with their employee, they will help foster energy, ownership, and enhanced personal commitment within the employee to their work.