Many managers become frustrated when team performance sags, quotas and KPIs (key performance indicators) are not met and billable hours are gobbled up. (KPIs are a set of business metrics used to evaluate factors deemed critical to organizational and/or business unit success).
These middle managers will point fingers at their teams and blame external factors for the team’s failures. It’s always someone else’s fault.
Have I just described your own management style and and your relationship with your team? Hmmm.
Hands-off managers will hire yet another sales training organization or management consultant and throw them at their team. These managers hope that this current round of training “sticks.” It usually doesn’t, does it?
Hands-off managers have one goal: to tick that training and coaching item off their “to do” list. They input numbers into software programs to derive how their team measures compared to goal. That’s the definition of middle management mindset. Their focus is quarter by quarter. Tactical instead of strategic.
Engaged, hands-on managers “get” the big picture. They are engaged in team coaching for consistency. They leverage the impact and effectiveness of their own coaching skills on their team’s performance. They take responsibility and assume accountability for their team’s performance. Their focus: creating a team coaching environment which results in productive and profitable business outcomes for their customers and their own organization.
Team coaching for consistency gives everyone a long-range vision. The team’s focus is strategy and tactical execution over the course of at least 12-18 months.
I have observed three key attributes of managers who are engaged and effective in team coaching for consistency.
- Team coaching for consistency focuses on exploring realistic means of consistently meeting goals and objectives. Team coaching for consistency includes the manager as the fulcrum leveraging how their team creates value for customers.
- Team coaching for consistency forces the manager to move outside of their individual, managerial comfort level. What is involved is more than giving orders and directives.
- When a manager focuses on team coaching for consistency, they have skin in the game. And their teams know it and respect their involvement. That manager is fully invested in their team’s win-loss record. That manager buys into developing each team member so they become business professionals of worth.
How well does your own management style match these three statements?
Alternatively, do you recognize these two excuses of highly ineffective, hands-off managers?
Hands-off managers use the excuse: “I’m too busy.” That statement creates barriers to coaching and collaboration. These “too busy” managers are always on the road or constantly participating in upper level meetings. They avoid their team rather than engage in leading their team. Their team’s performance, processes, output and mindset is inconsistent.
Stop being too busy for your team.
Hands-off managers use the excuse: “I’m too important” to hand-hold team members. These managers always have their eye on their next promotion. When team members schedule an appointment with these hands-off managers, it is as though the manager has granted the team member an audience with a dignitary. Team members are highly competent professionals. They don’t require hand-holding. They do require leadership and an understanding of management vision regarding execution of strategy.
Stop thinking you are too important to coach your team.
Team coaching for consistency is like a business professional’s version of the Tough Mudder® competition. The team is in this together. The team has each other’s backs, even when things gets messy and muddy. The team focus is a marathon instead of a sprint. The team will get to the finish line together.
Dismissing the importance of a team coaching philosophy that stresses vision, strategy, and tactical discipline and consistency, results in teams which falter. Team members lack the creativity and innovation to know what needs to be done along the way – especially when projects get mucked up mid-way through.
So managers, it is your choice: hands-on or hands-off? At least take responsibility for your management style and its impact on team performance.
Babette N. Ten Haken builds innovative, productive and profitable teams focused on excellence in the execution of strategy. Her Playbook on collaboration hacks, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.