Management Success Tip #115:Increase Employee Engagement with a Coach’s Mindset

Increase Employee Engagement with a Coach’s MindsetDo you want to earn employee loyalty, and with that, their enthusiastic engagement? Then behave more like a coach, not a teacher.

According to Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, “Coaches are specifically and explicitly on the student’s side… The focus is on helping the child get better, bringing out the child’s best so he or she can win.”

How does this apply to the workplace? Laura Vanderkam, discussing Khan’s ideas in a recent MoneyWatch/CBS News suggests: “If you’re delivering performance reviews this week, ask yourself this question: Am I behaving like a teacher or a coach? Is the point to label members of your team — your A players, B players and the C players who may be on their way out? Or is the point to figure out what your team members need to work on, and then figure out a way that you can work with them — as their ally — to shore up their weaknesses, practice repeatedly and ultimately to win?”

A coach turns average players into good players, and good players into great ones. That’s precisely what you can do, when you let your employees know, in word and deed, that you are their ally, that you are on their side, supporting them in every way you can.

Just like a really good coach.


Management Success Tip #114: Add Value to your Business by Showing Your Employees How Valuable They Are

Image courtesy of photostock /

I have been a long time fan and admirer of how SAS, the Cary, North Carolina-based tech company, treats their employees. Simply put, for years now, SAS has been at the top of “best places to work” of pretty much every single list in the world.

Now many people will say, “Well, easy for them to do. SAS has the resources to provide things like free child care, a gym, postal service, dry-cleaning, shortened work days (37.5 hours weekly, max!)…” and the list goes on.

True. SAS does have those resources. But what matters is that SAS made a commitment to treat their employees as valued and valuable individuals. That’s why they devote such resources to their employees, rather than line corporate pockets with more bonuses. It started with a commitment, not billions of dollars.

No matter what size your business is, you can make the same commitment. And you can provide employees with what they consider to be important, without bankrupting your company. It just takes a little thought, and asking employees what would make a big difference in their happiness factor at work.

You may only be able to offer one small thing at a time, like offering flex-time on Fridays, but whatever you do that overtly demonstrates to employees that what matters to them matters to you, will make a substantial difference to your success.

If you’d like to know more about how SAS values their employees, check out HuffPo’s article, or go directly to the SAS website.

It’s downright inspirational.

101 Winning Tips: How to Make Your Employees HAPPY as you BOOST Productivity and Profits

Boost Profits brochureWhy do some companies consistently enjoy high employee productivity, low turnover and a workforce that is willing to go the extra mile? It’s simple: show members of your workforce that you truly appreciate and value their efforts. Lead by example and you’ll find appreciation quickly becomes contagious. The result: high employee morale, increased productivity and a thriving business.

Below is a link to my booklet, “101 Winning Tips: How to Make Your Employees HAPPY as you BOOST Productivity and Profits.”

It’s an easy reference guide that will help company managers improve the employer-employee relationship. Quick, simple tips include:

Give clear direction. It’s up to you to make sure the employee understands a task, not up to them to mind-read. Value employees by making it easy for them to succeed.

Respect all your employees. Put-downs and sarcasm hurt people. Teasing usually pleases the teaser far more than the teasee. Treat every­one with courtesy.

Be true to your word. Whatever you promise, big or small, deliver it. If you can’t deliver, proactively seek an equally attractive al­ternative and explain the situation honestly. The more you deliver on your promises, the more your employees will deliver for you.

Support employee personal needs as your budget permits, from the simple – stamps & greeting cards available for sale at the recep­tionist’s desk, the local laundry offers pick-up & delivery service, to the complex — onsite child care, a gym, an ATM.

Praise specifically. “The way you sum­marized the Smith meeting in your report was very concise, very helpful. Thanks.” “Fixing the timing mechanism so quickly got us back on track for that big order. Thank you.” Specific praise is more meaningful than general.

Fix the problem, not the blame. The employee knows he/she has messed up. More lambasting only demoralizes your employee further. Move on to problem solving as quickly as possible.

Here’s the link:

Management Success Tip #113: Nap Your Way to Success

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Time to discuss a serious subject: napping.

You think I’m kidding? I am not. Not for an instant. Did you know that fatigue costs American businesses $63 billion a year in lost productivity? That sleep deprivation, apart from making you cranky, causes serious safety lapses as well as a myriad of health issues.

Fatigue drains you of your creativity, your enthusiasm, and your ability to be fully present. Companies are becoming more and more aware of just how important it is to have well-rested employees. For example, Arianna Huffington reports that: “At The Huffington Post’s office in New York, we’ve installed two nap rooms . At the beginning, our reporters, editors, and engineers were reluctant to use them, afraid that people might think they were shirking their duties. But it’s a sign of our time of transition that, these days, our nap rooms are always booked. We have to change workplace culture so that what’s stigmatized is not napping but walking around drained and exhausted.”

A company that provides nap rooms is wonderful, but may not be something your company is anywhere close to considering. Not a problem. Naps don’t have to be a big deal.

You can nap by simply laying your head on your desk, and setting your phone alarm for 10 or 20 minutes of snooze time. If you don’t have a door you can close to assure yourself of some privacy, consider taking 20 minutes of your lunch break as snooze time in the privacy of your car. I did that one for years before I was granted an office-with-a-door.

You will be a happier manager, and thus be more available to making your employees happy, if you take a few moments during your day to refresh yourself.

Nap on!

Management Success Tip #112: Encourage Employee Risk-Taking Without Risking Your Business

#112 Stuart Miles

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

You’re busy. You have a department to manage, a business to run, quotas to meet. The last thing you feel like is being patient with an employee who took a risk that went totally sidewise.

Your instinct is to shake that employee and exclaim: “What was going through your head? What on earth made you think you could pull that off?! You just wasted  . . .” and on and on.

But since you long ago realized you can’t manage by shaking-and-yelling, you simply say, through gritted teeth: “Don’t do that again. Ever. Just do what you’re told,” and walk away. Fine. Except you’ve now nixed the likelihood this employee will ever try something innovative again. Yet innovation is what drives business success . . .

Randy Conley, in a Lead Change Group article, likens this to a golfing experience:

Imagine that you’re an average golfer (like me!) who decides to take lessons to improve your game. After spending some time on the practice range, your instructor takes you on the course for some live action and you attempt a high-risk/high-reward shot. You flub the shot and your instructor goes berserk on you. “How stupid can you be?” he shouts. “What were you thinking? That was one of the worst shots I’ve seen in my life!” Not exactly the kind of leadership that encourages you to take further risks, is it? Contrast that with a response of “So what do you think went wrong? What will you do differently next time?”

Conley discusses how Garry Ridge, CEO of WD-40, characterizes these incidents as “learning moments, where planning and execution come together, a result is produced, and we incorporate what we learned into our future work.”

“What do you think went wrong? What will you do differently next time?” These are dynamite tools for success. Such questions enable employees to review their choices without blame, and encourages them to take better thought out risks in the future.