Manager Coaching

Sample #3

Here's a typical question posted to the Manager's Tutorial Message Board. It is followed with the coach's feedback.

Hi Coach: How do I get an employee who's frequently late to show up on time? Otherwise he's a good employee. —Uncertain

Hi Uncertain: First, check his Job Application Form. There is a lie, inaccuracy or omission on it somewhere. Look closely because someone else missed it. It could be an incorrect address, or purposefully illegible handwriting. It could be a wrong telephone number for a reference. Sometimes it's just that they didn't include the dates for something because they were too lazy to think about it or to calculate it or,,,  to make a note and come back later with the information (indicating no commitment to doing complete work). At other times it's an outright lie.  For example: They only "attended" college, they didn't graduate, or, "Three years" when the truth is it was two years four months. etc.

What we're doing here is putting in our integrity. We have caused, created if you will, an employee to communicate nonverbally, by dramatization, (breaking agreements or performing poorly) that there is something about us he does not respect. Without exception a broken agreement is a set-up. He's needing to get acknowledged (caught) for something. 

Put another way, your staff, during the job interview process, rewarded his resistance to doing complete work, or perhaps even an addiction to lying; they set the standard. At that moment he unconsciously lost some respect. Respect was eroded even more by the way you handled his first tardiness. 

He is also mirroring the fact you did not communicate that starting time is 8:00am. You may have said the right words but the results clearly show they were not communicated.

For example:

"Starting time is 8:00am. Is that going to be a problem for you? No! Good! It's important because we need to be able to trust you to keep certain agreements consistently, like managing your time. The way to let me know, non-verbally, that you no longer wish to work here is to show up late. Is that ok? Do you get that? Do you have any questions about that? Great, sign your name __________ here (at the bottom of the company policy and rules form)."

Even if you memorize the above words it's unlikely you will produce the desired outcome. It's not about words, communication is about intention. You must enroll him/her to be aligned with your intention.

To experience a transformation, you must first acknowledge what your intentions have been.

Uncertain's Reply: H'mm, you mean to say I must be willing to acknowledge that I have been unconsciously intending tardiness and sloppy work—that I have been setting up my employees to thwart me in support of communication mastery?

Coach: You got it. Clever of you, huh?

Note: During the tutorial we have a conversation about the distinction between "getting" someone to do something and "having" them do it. 

The coach's response continues with an example of the conversations required to align the employee. Notice that I don't use the word, re-align—the employee has yet to choose to be aligned. Such an employee requires skillful managerial counseling to get to the truth, the source, of his broken agreements. The tutorial includes a free Manager's Clearing and Counseling Form for you to read to each employee. It creates space to get things out in the open. It also provides you with a documented record of responsible counseling and supervision of each employee. What's also true is that the manger needs an equal amount (yes equal) of counseling/coaching; it is his/her leadership communication skills that created tardiness.

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