Are You Babysitting or Coaching Your Employees?

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How often do you spend your time answering questions that could be solved with a Google search?

Micro-managing sucks.

Your team wants babysitting, but they need coaching. Hand-holding quickly shifts from enabling to prohibiting progress.

Jeff Foxworthy puts it bluntly:

  • Answer questions that should have been Googled.
  • Repeat yourself hundreds, even thousand of times.
  • Do tasks for your team instead of with them.

There’s a fine line between babysitting and coaching, especially with a younger staff. Consider this Chinese proverb:

When you empower and train your team you set them up with the confidence and competence (respectively) to succeed.

Who wants to chase their people?

Determine when it’s an issue of staff maturity, training, or integrity.

Low staff maturity means lack of responsibility, organizational skills, and drive.

We asked Cynthia Johnson, Managing Partner & Director at RankLab, for advice:

“When it comes to coaching your team, you have to do just that. Make them exhaust every possible solution on their own before stepping in to give them the answer. People learn by doing.”

Explicitly encourage people to think for themselves.

One of my favorite phrases is Train team members to come up with possible solutions before asking for your help. When they do this, they’ll enable themselves to solve their problems 90% of the time instead of needing validation before taking even the smallest of actions.

“I trust your judgment”.

When team members take initiative, but also know to communicate and iterate, the cost of mistakes is low — we can rapidly fix them.

Then a mistake is just rapid testing which is part of the normal process.

In other words, coach them to never bring forward a problem without at least one solution.

If it’s training, shift to a mentorship model; create processes and checklists for team members to learn from and follow. With process and mentorship in place, your team will begin to train itself.

A business exists upon the tripod of People, Process and Platform.

Weakness in any one area cripples the whole business.

Mentorship solves your people problem.

If it’s integrity that’s lacking, you probably need a stronger filter for new hires.

Do you see this issues with your staff? What’ been working for you? Let me know in the comments below.

You are right? Let them discover first the solutions then you set in for additional Info. I handled my staff like that. I gave them Instructions and give them problems and told them, only ask me twice or thrice then you are on your own provide me a solutions before asking me a bunch of questions.

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About Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com, his blog, or on Facebook.