"It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." This is a line from one of my favorite children’s books by Judith Viorst. While the book is about a boy’s experiences during one day of his life, we can all relate to some of the events that occur. And we can definitely relate to the message.
Recently, a person in middle management approached me saying he couldn’t wait to let an employee “have it” about all the things that person was doing wrong. According to this middle manager, that employee should have changed long ago, and she just wasn’t capable of doing the job even though her resume had looked good. This manager felt like he was going to have to fire the person and hire someone new.
It’s easy to focus on what isn’t going the way we expected. In fact, we’re trained from infancy to focus on the negative in an effort to “turn things around”. But, focusing on the negative just keeps us focused on the problem, not on the potential solutions. In this case, firing someone will ultimately cost the company 30% or more than it would to focus on solutions. It is much less costly to develop the employee’s skills.
One huge step in supporting each person’s growth (the real job of a leader) is taking a fresh look at the situation. That begins with becoming more aware of the strengths of each person – what they bring to the position and the company no matter their experience or age.
Need to change the game? This week, try the following:
For each person who represents a challenge to you in some way, write down three (3) strengths that person brings to the job. Review those three strengths daily, especially before any communication with them, and when they are driving you crazy. Reminding yourself of the positives helps stop the downward cycle of seeking out and validating what is wrong. When we begin focusing on what is right, rather than what is wrong, we open our minds to new ways to approach challenging situations.
Coaching is a critical skill for leaders at all levels. If you would like to learn more about how to coach employees at all levels and generations to be successful and drive up your bottom line, contact Joy today.