Make sure your employees are riding the same bus

Hiring can be brutal. Sometimes you just take any warm body to fill a seat, right? 

That can solve a short-term problem while building a long-term headache. Sure, you’ll have someone there to assign work to. Does that mean they’ll flourish and help the company thrive

The real question is: Who is on your bus?

Make sure employees are on your busManagement researcher Jim Collins likened a company to a bus. Each seat has an ideal person. Anyone CAN sit there, but SHOULD they? Folks could just be jumping on your bus because it’s there. 

The journey becomes smoother for everyone when the right people are in the right seats. You can fill your bus with the best possible players by coaching employees. Go beyond the surface and really learn an employee’s skills and aspirations. People who WANT to be there become invested in success, and they take pride in their work.

Cultivating a high performing team and a Top Workplaces culture takes three key components:

  • An Employee’s Skill
  • That Employee’s Interest
  • The Organization’s Need

With coaching, an employee can be given a chance to become the team contributor their manager knows they can be. As scary as it is to have an empty seat on your bus, it’s scarier when that dead weight slows your bus to a crawl. 

“Coaching” is not executive counseling or rebranding reviews. It’s a focused process that opens and guides communication designed to connect a manager with their direct report on a deeper level. That will ultimately enable the manager to coach the individual and team to greater success. 

As much as we want to cater to our employees’ dreams, the needs of the organization must be met. Can’t accommodate someone’s aspirations? Coaching gives managers the opportunity to explain company needs while also opening the door for building skills or passing along knowledge that can help that employee attain their dream one day. 

Here’s how you get started:

  • Learn to listen: Build real listening skills into your leadership style. When your employees genuinely feel heard, they’ll be more invested.
  • Think systemically: Find a system that provides a proven structure of documented conversations centered on cascading strategic needs and initiatives while developing and growing talent. 
  • Educate: Train your managers to think like coaches. Train employees to be coachable.
  • Speed it up: Solve those performance problems expeditiously. It should take only days or weeks, never months or years, to resolve issues with poor performers. 
  • Take a sample of one: Realize that each person on your bus is unique. Tailor coaching to the individual and they’ll come together as a team. 

Gary Markle, chief catalyst of Catalytic Coaching Inc, is a speaker, consultant, author, and a business partner of Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.

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