Making Waves: Observing Yourself and Employee Performance in 2016
January is a popular time to reflect on personal and professional change. Creating New Year’s resolutions is a powerful way to implement meaningful change. As a professional executive, I often hear my clients share their New Year’s wishes – to better managers and leaders. Others talk about wanting to improve morale within a team. What are your resolutions to enhance productivity, increase trust or improve communication within your workplace and with employees?
Anytime Coaching: Unleashing Employee Performance, written with my co-author and fellow Executive Coach, Teresa Wedding Kloster, is a practical guide that can help anyone in the workplace achieve his or her resolutions by strengthening core supervision and management skills. The core skills outlined in the books are well known and mostly likely ones you use in the office. The four key Anytime Coaching practices and foundational skills (also known by the acronym OILR), are:
- Observing (yourself and employees)
- Inquiring (the ability to ask powerful questions)
- Responding (responding in an appropriate way)
In this blog, we will dive deeper into the first Anytime Coaching practice of observing and explain how you can use it to help set important goals for the coming year.
Practice of Observing: Reflecting on 2015: Let’s start back with 2015 and reflect more closely on this past year. As an Anytime Coach, it is very important to start first with observing yourself and then your employees. The goal is not only to observe yourself but to pay more attention to those around you – your colleagues and team members – observing with a new perspective or “new set of eyes.” Take a few minutes to step back and build upon your strengths in what you have done as a leader or manager, as well what your employees are doing. Here are some questions to help you reflect back on 2015:
- What did you do well in 2015 with regards to being a manager?
- What else are you proud of (in yourself) regarding leadership?
What did you observe about yourself in times of change or stress?
- How did you handle these situations well?
- What would you do differently next time when faced with a challenge?
Observing Employee Performance with Fresh Eyes in 2016
Now that you have looked at positives in both yourself and your team, it is time to look ahead to 2016 and reflect upon changes needed in your employees’ performance. It is very easy to look at what is not working well with your employees. However, using Anytime Coaching’s practice of observing, we encourage you to start in a completely different place – look at the positive possibilities with your employees and what is actually working well. The lens of looking at employees through positive possibilities may be different at first, but this new lens can fundamentally change how you view your employees, team members, and even your own supervisor. Rather than focusing on employees’ weaknesses, look at the larger picture. Think about what each employee does well and how his or her work is effective. This sounds simple but observing positive qualities takes focus. We believe it is a huge shift in perspective to first notice what are the employees’ positive qualities and then determine what can be improved.
Here is how you can get started. Think of an employee who may not be your top performer. What does this employee do well? Think of something very small that you have not noticed before. Perhaps it is in an area where he/she is very accurate or detailed oriented? Or is this employee very responsible when it comes to deadlines or meeting attendance? These small positive qualities may seem overly simple, but it is this type of thinking that is the building block toward creating a new perspective and fresh thinking about an employee. Once the foundation of looking for positives has been set, it will become easy to see other areas where your employee excels – setting a solid base for future Anytime Coaching conversations as explored in the book and the course.
So, let’s ring in 2016 with a new perspective, positive possibilities, and your stepping forward to become an Anytime Coach.