No matter it’s referred to as “coaching,” “managing,” or “supervising,” if the person who is doing it does not have the team players’ best interest at heart, then perhaps he or she should not be in that position.

That may sound pretty harsh, but let’s think this through before making any critical judgments.

The “manager” works under someone, perhaps a supervisor or the business owner.  They have been entrusted to instruct, guide, and inspire those they oversee.

Three small words, but three difficult tasks for several reasons:

  1. Instruct. Not all people learn the same or at the same speed. Communication during training may require different teaching methods to get everyone on the same playing field and understanding what the game plan is. Some players will catch on quickly, while others take longer. Instructing, then, is not a “one size fits all” task. Managers need to understand this and also be trained in how to teach the same tasks in multiple ways.
  2. Guide. Once team players have learned the basic methods of their job positions, the manager needs to continue guiding the them on the path for the business to be productive. Each employee will react to this guidance differently. Some people appreciate help and guidance and understand they will become better players with because of it. Others reject being guided, and want to step out on their own once their instruction is done. Again, a single leadership method may not work for all employees in your team.
  3. Inspire. This is probably the hardest of the three tasks to execute and maintain. What inspires one person might not for another. It takes getting to know each person on your team and understand what it is that makes them “tick” so you can continue to light the fire and keep them going strong.

Leading employees is a very difficult task and one that takes understanding, patience and commitment to your team players. Too often business owners or managers become frustrated with their staff members because they are not responding as quickly as they would like them to in one of those areas listed above.

When this happens, incorrect judgments are often made and employees let go, when they really just needed to be coached in a different way in order to understand and respond better.

If you are "called" to lead, coach, manage, or supervise there are a few simple rules that will help you to be a leader that your staff will look up and respond to.

  1. Great coaches rally the whole team together. You never see a coach that only rallies some of the team players.
  2. Great coaches know all team members are equal even though their jobs may be different. They do not play favorites or create superstars because they know it will cause serious problems within the team. 
  3. Great coaches realize mistakes are lessons to be learned, whether they are made by a team member or by the coach.
  4. Great coaches put their team members first and do not throw anyone under the bus.
  5. Great coaches realize they are working with people, not widgets.
  6. Great coaches ask their team questions and let them come up with answers and actions.

There are so many great examples of coaches that you can read about and gain valuable insight and lessons from. Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, Pat Riley, and Phil Jackson are just a few with great coaching lessons. Books have been written about all of these legendary leaders, and each is well worth reading if you are in a coaching/managing position.

One final point to note is that when there is a great coach leading the team, each team member will be able to tell you they are valued. Now, that is something each leader/coach needs to strive for to be successful at serving their team. If team members are valued, then you are valuable to them!

Want to learn more about leading a great team? The Top Practices Practice Management Institute has the answers.
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