Listen and Coach Your Employees to Success

Listen to employeesWhat type of supervisor are you? Do you rule with a firm hand, expect your employees to live up to your expectations, and discourage feedback? Or are you more like a mentor, molding and shaping your staff members to create the most effective team possible?

Sports analogies are used often in business: we work in teams, set goals, and hit home runs, whether we work at a baseball diamond or in a coffee shop. And today’s managers are more like team coaches than strict bosses who must be obeyed—or else.

Employees are an asset; their knowledge and talents are your company’s resources. It’s up to the coach to decide how to best use those resources, for the benefit of the team. Even in today’s economy, when staffers should be happy to be employed, there is a certain balance that must be maintained between the company’s needs and the employees’ needs. To keep that balance at an optimum level, good leaders find that nurturing talent and encouraging feedback and communication are among their best tools.

Asking open-ended questions is a good way to start. Instead of a “yes” or “no” question, like “Do you have what you need to do your job?” a coach would ask, “What are the specific tools I can provide so you are most successful at your job?” The first question is confusing; a worker is likely to say “yes” to avoid looking unprepared. The second choice is better—your employee has a wide range of possible answers, none of which can be considered incorrect.

Secondary questions, such as, “I never thought about it that way. Can you explain what you mean by that?” will help employees feel valued and confident in their opinions. Encourage staffers to open up in their communication by choosing questions wisely; help them think broadly about issues, and ask for their suggestions to improve procedures and policies.

Practice the art of active listening: make steady eye contact, engage fully with your staffers, and ask clarifying questions. Nothing does more to indicate to your employees that you are listening to them and care about what they think.

The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

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