The Head Coach Manager's Blog

What does a manager do? What does a Head Coach do?

Posts Tagged ‘leadership

Have fun with your direct reports.

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Who made the rule that leaders and directs could not have fun together? Whoever it was, was wrong and they missed a great opportunity to become an even better leader.  My experience as a leader has helped me to see how valuable it is to have fun with your directs.  Obviously there are boundaries that cannot be crossed but those are clearer than you might think.

My experience as a leader has helped me to see how valuable it is to have fun with your directs

First, get to know your directs and what they like.  It is difficult to have fun with someone if you do not know what they like.  I make it a priority as a leader to learn something that is unique about each one of my directs.  For example, I have one direct who is coaching soccer for school aged children.  This small detail helps to build credibility for our relationship and makes it easy for us to have a relationship and be able to have fun.

Second, laugh out loud and laugh often.  I am convinced that laughter can break barriers.  There is a power in a good loud laugh.  Furthermore, a laugh is contagious and it brings people together.  As a leader, I make it a top priority to laugh at and laugh with my directs.  When a direct sees you laughing out load it shows them that you are a real person and that you are more than just a leader in a suit.  In addition to laughing out loud, make sure that it is often.  The more often the better.  Your directs will appreciate you for it and it will help you build up your team.

Finally, whistle while you work.  Literally.  If you sing, sing.  If you hum, hum.  Just make sure that you’re enjoying music with your directs while you work.  Just like laughter, music has the power to connect you to your directs in a special way.  The best piece about this part is that when followed in reverse it could help you achieve your other goals.  For example, I am a terrible singer, but I enjoy dropping a lyric or two at work and it brings out a laugh from my directs, which then causes me to laugh.  It is also a great conversation piece and it opens up dialogue between you and your direct.  Do not be afraid to ask them what kind of music they like, and when they do not expect it, surprise them with a lyric from their favorite song.

If you sing, sing. If you hum, hum.

In closing, a few boundaries that are obvious.  Remain professional.  Guard your relationship and do not allow the line of leader-direct to get blurred.  Be genuine.  Most importantly, have fun!

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Can a strong leader also have fun?

Have you ever had a leader that made work fun? What about a leader that made work not fun?

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It’s easy to have fun when you assume positive intent.  Learn about positive intent by checking out the article Assume Positive Intent.

Written by theheadcoachmanager

March 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Quickly Coaching Using Positive Intent

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Last time I introduced a concept I call, Assuming Positive Intent.  As a leader this concept guides my moves.  As a new leader one thing I struggled with was holding my directs accountable for their behaviors and their performance and then coaching them.  I used to view accountability and coaching as negative things.  I was mistaken.  I have learned that accountability and coaching are a leaders best tools.  However, the two have to be viewed within the scope of Assuming Positive Intent.

I have learned that accountability and coaching are a leaders best tools

Accountability is easy when you assume that your directs mean well and that they are not going out of their way to sabotage you.  Coaching becomes even easier when you accept that as a fact.  When I came to this realization it became easier to hold my directs accountable and to coach them for their performance and behaviors.

First, set clear expectations with your directs.  When you set your expectations you have to leave no room for error or misinterpretation.  You cannot leave room for a direct to say, “I did not know” or “I did not know how”.  Every book I have ever read about leadership discusses setting clear expectations.  Amazon quickly brings up several books that will guide you in the process.  Your expectations have to be clear and firm.  This is crucial and is the difference between coaching being easy or difficult.

You cannot leave room for a direct to say, “I did not know” or “I did not know how”.

Next, when your expectations are not met you have to decide whether it is a skill or a will issue.  Does your direct have the proper training to meet your expectations?  Have you trained them to be successful and to meet your expectations?  The answer to those two questions will help you determine if it is a skill issue.  If you decide it is a skill issue then you need to focus on bringing your directs‘ skill up to par with your expectation.  This is your responsibility as a leader.  However, if you determine that it is not a skill issue, then you have to figure out what is the will issue.  Why did your direct choose to not meet your expectations?  What were their obstacles?  What caused them to not meet your expectation?  Remember, these questions and their answers are being examined while assuming positive intent.

Finally, hold your coaching situation without postponing the conversation.  It is important that you do not postpone the conversation.  Typically a leader will postpone a coaching conversation because they are afraid, intimidated, or unsure about holding the conversation.  However, if you have set clear expectations, have examined the issue under the scope of positive intent while deciding if it is a skill or will issue, then the coaching conversation is simple and easy.

Start with a question about your expectations.  “Sally, what happened at closing last night?”  Pause and wait for their reply.  Do not jump to a conclusion and do not interrupt your direct.  Listen to what they have to say and reserve judgment.  Once your direct concludes their explanation ask a follow up question for clarification.  Once you have an understanding about the situation from the perspective of your direct then you conclude the coaching conversation by reiterating your expectations…and that’s it!  Really, it’s that simple.  You have just had a coaching conversation with your direct.

Assuming positive intent makes coaching so much easier.  The process is quick and it removes the stress associated with the coaching conversations that we have as leaders with our directs.  When you choose to assume positive intent it makes coaching easier because you are not coaching someone because they are a bad person, you are coaching a person because you want to gain understanding about why they are not meeting your expectations.

Really, it’s that simple.  You have just had a coaching conversation with your direct.

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What kind of coaching conversations do you find difficult?

Do you think this technique would work with all people? Why or why not?

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If you’re wondering who The Head Coach Manager is and why he thinks he knows a thing or two about leadership, check out the Introduction.

Written by theheadcoachmanager

February 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Introduction

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Early Sunday morning the idea of starting a blog crossed my mind.  This idea then turned into daydreaming.  I started to daydream about this blog and what it would look like and what it would mean for me and for others.  My daydream then turned into planning, so I looked at a few blogs and a few different sites.  My curiosity peaked when I realized that my laptop came installed with Windows Live Writer and that it linked directly to WordPress.  Before I finally made the final decision to start this blog, I did a quick search on Bing for “Top Blog Sites” and almost like an answered prayer, WordPress was listed as the most popular blog site.  I signed up and here I am…

So what’s the deal with the name of the blog? Or better yet, what is the point of my blog and what am I trying to accomplish? As you can clearly see, this blog is titled The Head Coach Manager.  The title popped into my mind after a series of discussions that I have had at work in which I’ve challenged a few leaders to look at their roles as leaders similar to that of a Head Coach.  What does a Head Coach do? He or she trains the team, he or she practices with the team, and he or she holds the team accountable.  How is that different from what leaders do in their day-to-day job?  There is none.  In my current role, I train my team, I practice with my team and I hold my team accountable.  So that’s where the name, The Head Coach Manager, came from.

I want to use this blog as a way to share the pieces of wisdom that I have learned throughout my years as a human being.  I want to use this blog as a way to help current leaders and potential leaders become better leaders in their lives, and in their careers.  I will share tips, quotes, nuggets, and advice that I have learned in my leadership journey.

I have not decided if I am going to update daily, randomly throughout the week, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.  Actually, now that I think about, I will probably update as time allows.  I’m a Store Manager for a wireless carrier and work over 40-hours a week.  I am also pursuing my Masters of Management and Leadership from Liberty University.  Furthermore, I have a wonderful wife and beautiful daughter that demand my attention.  So in other words; when life, work, or school is not happening, then I will update.

Written by theheadcoachmanager

January 24, 2011 at 3:11 am