There is a virtual cornucopia of management styles out there to choose from- each with their own benefits, strategies, and differences. Currently there is a trend in management that is working really well and generating powerful results.
Behavioral science acknowledges the importance of how we are wired as individuals, how we operate, and how that changes as society evolves and changes. These considerations are also important to managers and leaders in the business world.
Naturally, sometimes the style in which we manage also needs to adapt. Think of the management style an assembly line had. The management set atop an ivory tower, looking down at workers, and the law was do... or else. It was very task driven, and very much socially disengaged.
This style of management has proven not to work any longer in our society- so what’s a management style that does work today?
Being a Coach
This is actually a management style that we’re all familiar with. When we think coach, we immediately think of sports. In that vein, even in the most old-time sports coaching styles, if you had a coach that would emulate the assembly line management style of constantly cracking the whip from high above, that sort of behavior wasn’t sustainable and didn’t generate consistent long-term success for the team.
Today we see the mentor style of coaching in many other industries outside of sports— leadership coaching, business coaching, parent coaching, spiritual coaching, and so on. These modern interactions are relationships. There’s a mutual benefit and give-and-take.
A coach is someone who has a relationship with you. Those exceptional at coaching all have a defining characteristic of maximizing performance, by unlocking potential. A valuable team member or employee is someone that has untapped potential that they can use to add that extra benefit or power to the organization. Likewise, the best coaches or managers are skilled at unlocking that potential.
“A skilled coach is someone that is involved in unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance.”
- Sir John Whitmore
Ask Questions to Spark Insights
From a management perspective, the goal is to foster a coach-like relationship with your employees. This can be accomplished by asking questions instead of barking orders.
Ask questions that make individuals think to create conversations. A good coach questions is “tell me more”. By questioning your team to tell you more about something they did, it gets certain mechanisms working internally in thought. They will begin to think why they took certain actions, which will lead them into connecting those actions with results. It also gives your context as a leader, into understanding why your employees do certain things.
And that gives you the necessary information about those individuals, to establish proper corrective action.
The “tell me more” questions are superb for coaches, because it helps your team members describe what they need most from you as a leader, what they need most from a support structure, and the answers to those questions can identify weak points in your existing training programs.
This Week’s Take Away
The management style we know that works, is coaching, because it can unlock untapped potential. For coaches, the first step towards unlocking that potential in employees is asking those “tell me more” questions.
This week create a “tell me more” question that you can ask instead of issuing orders. Next time you want to tell your employees to do a thing, or if someone comes up to you to ask how to do something or how to respond to a customer… ask them to tell you more.