From the Top

“My job is to report it, not to fix it. That’s my manager’s job. That’s why she gets paid the big bucks!”

This was the reply I received when I asked a client’s team member if she would be open to some coaching about how to solve a conflict with one of her co-workers.  Simultaneously, her manager had complained to me about being overwhelmed by problems between team members while trying to manage her own job responsibilities, meet business goals, and solve practice challenges. The team treated her like the de-facto “office mom,” and she unwittingly supported that role. This led to a revolving door of petty problems being routinely dropped at her feet. And the more she tried to resolve them for others, the more they multiplied, and the worse things got for everyone. It was a manager’s nightmare, and she was on the verge of calling it quits.

I’ve always believed that babysitting grown professional adults was not a manager’s job but for years, I erroneously thought that my role as a coach was to train the manager to hand the work back to the employee and teach them to solve their own problems. I still do believe this but with one important difference.  It starts at the top, not the middle. Here’s what I mean…

Imagine an annual meeting where the owner (or partners) presents not only the
“Big Why” for the existence of their business, a clear view of a compelling future, and the values on which the company is founded but also a list of cultural norms and standards expected from anyone who crosses the threshold to work within the business. Things like:

  • Ongoing, consistent professional growth
  • Mature, professional communication skills such as redirecting gossip, accepting responsibility for your actions and results, regulating your emotions, and professionally solving problems and conflicts.
  • Professional behaviors such as being on time, appropriate attire, grooming, etc.
  • Contribution and engagement at meetings and trainings
  • Positive, helpful attitude
  • Team spirit

When an owner clarifies the behavioral standards to which everyone will be held accountable, the manager and team leaders are then able to say, “I didn’t set these standards. As you heard at our annual retreat, our owner did. My job is to simply be the conduit for them and to help coach you into alignment with these standards or help you decide that you don’t wish to align with them and then to determine the next best steps.

Now, a manager can say to an employee that learning to communicate at a mature, professional level with another teammate is a “non-negotiable” set forth by the owner. But, what is negotiable are the variety of ways they can support the employee in getting that done such as private coaching, mentorship, video programs, etc.

Statistics show that 40-50% of a manager’s time is spent solving problems people should be able to resolve on their own. Imagine what your business could achieve if you could regain half of your manager’s focus, energy, and time!

Like almost everything in business, it starts at the top. Clarity and inspiration.  Direction and consistency. Guidance and excellence.

If you’d like our complimentary Company Charter Creation Kit to guide you through creating a document that contains all of the elements you’ll need to make a dynamic and crucial presentation to your team at your next Annual Team Calibration Retreat, download it here.

And as always, we’re standing by, ready to assist in expertly facilitating a team retreat that will align your team around your vision, values, goals, and standards.  Just jump on Katherine’s calendar here to talk about how we can customize an unforgettable experience for you and your team today.

“Frustration and disappointment are the gap between expectations and reality.”

~ John Maxwell


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