COURAGE AND THE AGONY OF COACHING EMPLOYEESWritten by CMOE Development Team
Coaching employees on sensitive and personal topics like performance or contribution to organization can be as difficult and agonizing as telling a young son or daughter about sex for first time. You end up playing same mental games in your head over and over again: “What should they be told? How much do they already know? (Or how much do they want me to think they know?) How much detail should I go into?” If you are unable to answer any of these penetrating questions, you tend to put task off for another six months. Eventually, you discover harsh reality that there is very little they are unaware of, but a lot they don’t know.
Nearly everyone feels uncomfortable when coaching employees, yet few are willing to admit that they feel ambivalent or inadequate. Many leaders who say, with some pride, that they have no hesitation, often approach job like a bulldozer (over aggressively). In fact, coaching employees is risky (you may lose control of situation), and you are vulnerable (you have to substantiate your case, and your leadership style may be questioned by employee). Consequently you exaggerate your worst fears, you get uptight, you spend night before discussion is to take place worrying, and you try to figure out ways to avoid or postpone it. But deep down, you know that this isn’t a helpful strategy.
Many leaders will rationalize that issue or concern isn’t worth time or effort of a coaching session. But this comes back to haunt them later when employee’s work is put under microscope of others (their boss, customers, regulatory agencies, etc.) when employees position is considered for advancement, at performance appraisal time, or during crucial high-exposure stages of an important project. At these time, earlier hesitation ends up directly costing both leader and employee.
When Gifts Say More Written by Robert F. Abbott
What's a gift mean? If you're like me, you probably focus on giving and getting.
But, have you thought of gifts as a medium, a channel, for communication? In a book called The Gift, French anthropologist Marcel Mauss argues that gifts are universally used to create and manage relationships.
For those of us interested in business communication, idea of managing work relationships with gifts brings several interesting issues to our attention.
The most obvious notion is that in sending gifts, we communicate our appreciation for what someone did. It signals awareness that recipient did something exemplary. Usually, communication is implicit, perhaps even subtle, even though gift may be tangible.
In a workplace context, bonuses are often seen as gifts, a discretionary act on part of a manager to show appreciation. It is in manager's power to reward or not reward, and hence gifting effect.
Stock options, on other hand, represent something different; there is no managerial discretion in their value, but there may be discretion involved in giving them.
And don't we all consider type and value of a gift as an indicator of strength of relationship? I think we've all been through those debates about how much we should spend when a staff member gets married, has a baby, retires, or quits.
In each of these examples, it's not hard to see gifts as a tool for strategically managing relationships. We can also see gifts as a medium (like a newsletter) for exchanging messages.