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It's a manager's responsibility to keep the quality of products and services high. One of the biggest mistakes managers make is to do it by "fixing" the work of others. They jump in and change things, or even do the work themselves. They do it because it's a quick solution.
Here's the problem, though. "Fixing" is a temporary solution to an ongoing issue. Your employee or staff isn't really learning when you "fix." If anything, they are learning to rely on you to upgrade things to your satisfaction, while not growing in their skills.
That is why it's so important to "coach" instead of "fix."
When you coach people, you teach them the skills they need to improve. You analyze the work that needs to be done. You break it down into its key parts. You even name those parts and describe what quality looks like and how it's achieved.
It takes a little time to coach people, but it's well worth the effort, because it's a long-term solution rather than a band-aid.
Want to learn more about coaching? Here's a link to one my Poynter columns with plenty of tips. And in case you're thinking of a good holiday gift for a fixer who wants to become a coach, I devote a whole chapter to coaching in "Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know."
This is how it looked in the Barnes Pavilion of the Poynter Institute in St. Pete as we welcomed managers from all professions to the November Great Bosses Boot Camp. They came from a fascinating array of disciplines: construction, IT solutions and security, medicine, education, financial services, real estate management, sales, public transportation, media -- and even leaders of an important non-profit training guide dogs for the blind!
What they shared was a genuine passion for getting better at the tricky art of performance management: how to get the best out of their teams, how to keep them engaged at work -- and how to build strong positive cultures in the process. We packed a lot into the day -- from feedback (positive and negative) to coaching to time management/priority setting and the secrets of top leaders! The group took home certificates of completion, along with a copy of this class picture:
Sincere thanks to all of you for your wonderful evaluations of the class. We take that feedback and use it to improve the next program we offer. We plan to offer this program again in 2014!