Put Me In, Coach!

Do your employees bring their A-game to the workplace?

Head’s up: I’m about to drop some mind-blowing news.

Life is a game, and you’re either scoring buzzer-beater shots or sitting the bench.

So, if life is a game and we have to score on a regular basis to make progress, you better be thinking offense, right?  Well, not exactly.  Defense wins ball games. That, and solid preparation. And good coaching. Rebounding? Okay, so there are several aspects to consider…

I’m going to take this moment to forego speaking in metaphorical, Dick Vitale-ish talk and get down to how this applies to leadership at work—it doesn’t really matter if you’re in a managerial position trying to develop potential talent or a newbie in the trenches. It all applies.

Confidence: Fake it till you make it, baby! Nobody wants an insecure leader or employee. If you don’t know what you’re doing, act like you know what you’re doing until you know what you’re doing. Kapeesh? Preparation is key because when you prepare, you feel genuinely confident and others trust that you know what you’re doing because… well, you do. Attitude is everything, and the mind achieves what the mind believes.

Lead by Example: Servant leadership is a term we like to throw around in the HR community. But while it may seem like a somewhat shiny new concept in this arena, it’s just basic etiquette and really the most logical way to get someone to do what you want them to. Do as I say and not as I do? Notsomuch.

Others-oriented: Nobody likes a ball hog. Or someone who just talks about his or her own contribution in a post-game news interview for Channel 4. Always take the focus off of yourself and compliment your teammates. You not only earn their respect and trust this way, but you are silently instilling confidence in them. The words “empathy” and “compassion” and “be-a-human” could also be used here.

Move On: Can’t shake that earlier slip-up you made in the first half?  You are only hurting your chances by mentally revisiting it. Let it go, and move on to the next task. Everyone is human—mistakes happen, and you will make more. What matters is how you respond to them. Ahhh… add guru life coach to my resume, grasshopper.

So, what type of performance manager are you? Do you aspire to inspire your employees when you can? Sometimes, going back to the basics of what makes a good leader can give you perspective on how you measure up and if you’ve really got your head in the game.