The words were repeated gently but emphatically to the beleaguered supervisor, his eyes misting as if hearing the phrase seemed to strike a chord.
His strong sense of professionalism and orderliness, while they were assets for his role, were interpreted by his co-workers as being authoritarian and abrasive. The systems and procedures he had designed to ensure compliance with industry quality standards were appropriate, but he wasn’t getting cooperation from his team for implementation.
The supervisor’s intentions were clear and in line with corporate management’s requirements to ensure compliance with the quality rules, but these drivers were not enough to fully engage and motivate his team members to ensure whole-hearted, sustainable implementation. He was using negative motivators like ordering, forcing and even threatening staff to co-operate. He didn’t usually behave like this, but being under pressure himself to achieve the required quality targets was bringing out traits that were detrimental to his leadership potential and even his professional reputation.
The supervisor was between a rock and a hard place. Stringent corporate goals, tight timelines and uncooperative staff were causing increasing frustration, driving a deepening rift between him and his team. Consequently, he felt as though he had failed in his role and was ready to quit. It was time to take an urgent step back, review the situation quickly and objectively, and adopt new leadership tactics for achieving goals and improving working relationships.
“You did not fail.” Hearing these words began to dissolve the emotional gridlock that was preventing the supervisor from acknowledging that he had made some progress, but changing his behaviour was essential to ensure positive impact and to engender collaboration with his colleagues.
Empathetic guided reflection prompted the supervisor to examine his leadership and communication styles. Rapid workplace-oriented coaching led him to appreciate the advantages of rapport-building and influencing over being authoritarian when it comes to getting buy-in from team members and peers.
About two hours of guided reflection and coaching set this supervisor on a path of true personal development and leadership, gaining self-confidence and renewed enthusiasm along the way. His working relationships began to improve almost immediately, and improved compliance with quality standards followed quickly. The supervisor’s sense of personal success was reinforced, as he realized that his newly adopted motivational leadership style could engender true team spirit that got results.
Rapid workplace-oriented coaching. Increasing employee engagement, leadership development, effectiveness and retention – one person at a time.