3 Types of Management Conversations
With business moving at such a fast pace, managers are under extreme pressure to produce results. However, results are produced through people. A manager’s most potent tool for motivating and inspiring their people are substantive conversations. Communication is the driver of engagement.
“The meaning of a word is the action it produces.“-Ashley Montague
Put another way, every time a team member has touch point with their manager, that employee’s engagement increases or lessens. There is rarely a neutral effect.
As you accelerate from task to task engaging your people in these three types of management conversations will channel their boundless energy towards focused business outcomes:
#1 – Clarify Expectations. Most managers I speak with are nearly 98% confident their people know what their top priorities are. But, Gallup’s research concludes that only about 50% of employees strongly agree with the statement, I know what’s expected of me at work. Clearly there’s a disconnect here.
Suggestions for closing this gap:
- Begin clarifying daily/weekly priorities with each team member. This is not micromanaging; you’re checking-in with, not checking-on, your people.
- Set measurable goals that align with the organization’s strategy and clarify how each team member will monitor progress.
- Identify what cross-collaboration needs to occur to ensure success.
- Integrate team members’ personal aspirations and natural strengths; helping them operate at their very best.
#2 – Performance Coaching. The above conversations require wearing the manager hat. Once clarity of direction is set, put on the coach hat.
Coaching conversations are energized by employee-centric questions:
- What capabilities do you need to strengthen to reach your goals?
- What would you like to celebrate 6 months from now?
- What’s a top leadership strength of yours that you can leverage?
- What’s a blind spot that could derail your success?
- How can I both support you and hold you accountable?
Performance coaches are also generous with meaningful feedback. According to Gallup, “employees are 3.6 times more likely to strongly agree that they are motivated to do outstanding work when their manager provides daily (vs. annual) feedback.” High performers are attracted to managers who provide regular, forward-looking, and actionable feedback.
#3 – Creating a Culture of Accountability. If people are regularly not held accountable for standards and agreements, what outcomes can we predict? Complacency creeps in, goals are not met, engagement and morale slump, and customer value diminishes.
If accountability isn’t core to your culture, you’ll always struggle with attracting and keeping A players, and performance will suffer. Instead of people taking ownership, you’ll have blame-gamers and finger-pointers, harbingers of a toxic culture.
Leadership strategies to consider implementing:
- Make accountability a core value and discuss it all the time – clarify what behaviors are prized and what behaviors are transgressions.
- Publicly (and privately) recognize and reward examples of team members stepping up and proactively solving problems.
- Everyone in a formal leadership role must model accountability and be open to feedback if they’re falling short.
- Assign ownership to all projects and discreet work areas, remember – if everyone is responsible, nobody is accountable.
- Finally, leaders must create a culture of psychological safety so members feel safe taking appropriate risks, making mistakes, and learning from them.
The best managers understand these three core conversations engage people’s head and heart, knowing that if employees don’t feel inspired, they’ll walk out the door or quiet quit on the job. Effective communication is the leadership vehicle for tapping into people’s boundless energy. Start imbedding these conversations into your daily workflow and enjoy the positive energy moving the business forward.
Schedule a 15-minute call with Steve to see if his solutions will solve your problems and help achieve your goals: Contact Us – STEVE RUDOLPH COACHING