One of my coaching clients was visibly upset at our coaching session recently. He was having an issue with how his team didn’t seem to be responding well to his feedback. They didn’t seem invested in what they were doing and were not giving 100% to their job.
We did some quick roleplays to find out how he was delivering feedback to his team members. In one scenario the team member’s work wasn’t very good, in another it was ok, and in the final one it was very good.
What these roleplays revealed was a big learning for this client and I thought I would share it with you…
In the end it is important to remember that people do not work hard because of you or your leadership. They work hard because they strive for what success means to them – and that often involves ownership over their work, and pride in their achievements.
So let them shine, and give them value by not adding value to their tasks.
Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:
I’ve just come out of my coaching session by the client and a very interesting one, so I thought I’ll straightaway share some learnings from that.
The Problem With His Team Members
Now I’m sitting down with the director of the company and he clearly looks upset. And he’s like, Shweta, I’m so tired of, you know, giving feedback to my team members and it seems that there is no attention to detail, and you know they’re not really passionate about the work that they’re doing. In fact, it feels that they don’t have the sense of ownership of what they’re doing. And what do I do, I just don’t understand. I’m trying to help them, but it’s just not making sense. So I was like, OK that’s interesting and yes I do come across those situations sometimes in my coaching meetings, so tell me a little bit more about this.
So I was like, OK that’s interesting and yes I do come across those situations sometimes in my coaching meetings, so tell me a little bit more about this. Let’s, in fact have a roleplay, or some roleplays, and tell me how you go about those meetings.
Team Management Roleplays Revealed The Answer
So we did some quick roleplays. Okay. In which maybe my work was not that good in one roleplay it was okay. And the other roleplay was pretty good. And I saw and experienced how my client was going about that discussion. And on reflection, I said there is one thing you need to become better at. Which is stop adding value.
You can imagine to that comment he was like “What do you mean? I’m the director of the business. You know I’m the line manager they expect me to add value, what do you mean don’t add value?”
What Do You Mean Don’t Add Value?
And I was like, yeah, no actually it makes sense for you to not always add value. Because think about it like this. Once it becomes a habit that whatever the level of work is, if you are feeling the pressure of adding value just because you are the managing director or the line manager. It’s like the habit formation for the team, that I can never please this person, every time I’ll go to that person will actually add value or make changes or make additions.
And by the time they leave the room it’s no more their work. It’s your version of the work. Think about the ownership. What happens to that level of ownership? It just goes down with every point that you make. Every new suggestion that you’re adding in that document.
The Highest Compliment You Can Give to a Team Member
So the question that I really want you to reflect on is, say you say, do I really need to add value in all the scenarios? When is it best to add value which will give you that incremental upside? And when is it really good to say, “Well done. I can’t think of anything else. This looks good, go back and focus on implementation and obviously keep me updated.”
Now that is the highest form of complement a team member can get from you when you say “No, I don’t want to add any value. It just looks really good. You’ve done a good job there.”
Think about the sense of ownership. Think about what they would want to do next time. They want to have another scenario next time, similar scenario where you’re not able to add any value or you don’t feel the need to add any value.
But the main point is just because you’re the business owner doesn’t mean that you have to keep on adding value. Sometimes, you know, the best way to add value is not to add any value.
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