Think about one of those crazy hectic days at your shop. Your schedule is full, the phone is ringing, dispatch is buzzing, and all the trucks are rolling.
On a day like this, when everyone’s insanely busy… outside of a scheduled meeting, what sort of event would normally cause you to stop what you’re doing and talk one-on-one with one of your people?
If you can’t come up with the answer right off the top of your head, don’t worry. Because it’s something that’s really easy to miss.
The fact is that when we’re busy and focusing on the tasks at hand, we usually don’t stop to communicate with our people unless something goes wrong. One of your people dents a truck, maybe they show up late, or they screw up on their paperwork.
If things are going right, we tend to ignore them, but if something goes wrong, we almost always stop and address it.
Maybe your first thought after reading that last statement is, “I PAY them to do it right, so I EXPECT everything to go well. Why should I stop and talk about what I pay and expect them to do?”
If that’s your thinking, then keep reading. I’m about to show you how to quickly and simply get your people to be more loyal, more fulfilled, and more productive.
Hey, I get it. You have to deal with negative things, even when you expect things to go well. So naturally, you correct what’s wrong and the normal day to day positive stuff goes by without being discussed. The logic isn’t lost on me.
But by not taking the time to reinforce positive behavior (even if you expect it), you’re missing a massive opportunity to impact the confidence of your people, and your bottom line in a very big way.
Of course, I’m talking about using positive reinforcement to make your team “right.” (Even in moments when most would say they’re not)
Letting your team know that whether we are celebrating a victory like completing a big job or grinding out a challenge like ordering the wrong materials, we have found the “right” system to improve. With victories, we high five and congratulate the people involved and share it with the entire team so we can duplicate what is working. With challenges, we can also thank the people involved for showing us what does NOT work and by the process of elimination we now know what to avoid next time. Whether it is a victory or challenge we have all won because of what we have all learned and are more likely succeed the next time.
Here are just a few of the many benefits you’ll realize when you start making your team right when you coach. Your team members are able to quickly make a mental connection between expected behaviors and reward – be it an actual reward like a bonus or a simple, “Way to go!” from the boss.
- Positive reinforcement motivates employees to sharpen their skills and continually improve instead of just “coasting” and maintaining minimum acceptable standards of performance.
- Because of your “make right” attitude your people will now feel free to share their weaknesses instead of hiding them, because they know you will be happy to help them with challenges.
- Team members who receive positive reinforcement are more excited about their work, are more coachable, and are less likely to quit when you need them the most.
No doubt that at some time in your past, you’ve worked for a manager who believed in the exact opposite of this theory. You know, the kind of manager who hunts for things that aren’t perfect like there’s some sort of reward for them.
Using brow-beating, humiliation, and embarrassment as management tactics are the sure sign of a bad coach. This type of coach creates an atmosphere in which his people are terrified of making even the smallest, honest mistake for fear of being berated.
Great coaches know that mistakes are opportunities to teach, coach, and grow their people.
Your people need to be able to act boldly with courage and confidence to be successful. They have to be relaxed and be able to have fun with your clients in order to create a great outcome.
If they have to worry about the boss going ballistic, it kills all that enthusiasm and makes them fearful of any interaction with the coach. Great coaches don’t ignore mistakes, but they see them for what they really are… a teaching opportunity that will help the rest of the team. A true WIN!
Share your thoughts below. What do you do to keep an even keel and learn lessons from success and from your challenges?