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Wed,Nov 11,2015 @ 08:49 AM

What's Your Elephant in the Room? Specific Attributes Managers Need to Address

Managers are busy. Managers wear many hats, but the thing that every manager has to remember is their management style and dare I say coaching approach is a message they send to their people every single day. I share this with respect as managers have to navigate often very murky waters every single day. The thing we don't talk about are those attributes that are often viewed or seen at the water cooler. It's a double-edged sword because if an employee is acting up or has a bad attitude managers are often encouraged to send them to the human resource department. If they need additional skill development they are encouraged to send them to the training department. This sends a very strong message to each and every employee in these situations.

On the other hand what if managers were skilled in handling such challenges? What if a manager new specific techniques and strategies to coaching negative attitudes in the workplace? What if a manager had the knowledge of how to build stronger relationships within the team? What if the manager had the insight to get employees to learn on their own? What a great workplace that would be! The fact is it's very possible!


We have identified specific attributes we call foundational attributes from our coach the coach service that seem to be challenges across industries and customer types that we worked with through the years. There are 9 Foundational Attributes, attitude, confidence, connectivity, engagement, feedback, motivation, progress, relationships, and self-development. Each of these is a learning barriers, an employee’s strength or weakness in each category can enable or disable an employee from higher productivity. An employee who excels in each principle is an employee who excels at his or her job. An employee who struggles with certain attributes may have difficulty reaching their goals, progressing, or fitting in to the company.

The 9 Foundational Attributes are all related. When you coach to one, you improve multiple. For example, one story that represents the Foundational Attributes is a young sales rep our company coached years ago. The sales person’s results were extremely low and I noticed the employee possessed a very negative attitude as well as was ostracized from the rest of the team. He was an outsider. The first month of coaching I had him perform random acts of kindness for his teammates. The manager initially was none too pleased when in fact the teammates started to accept the salesperson. Sales went up dramatically but the manager and I never addressed the targeted sales skill areas during the first few months of coaching. We coached to his attitude as well as his relationships within the workplace which certainly gave him greater confidence, engagement, and overall connectivity to the company as a whole.His sales dramatically went up in the manager became a fantastic coach by simply targeting one foundational area.


Attitude: This means attitude towards work, towards other employees, toward the company, etc. An employee’s attitude sets the tone for the rest of their work, and a bad attitude can lead to less than exceptional work. Increasing an employee’s attitude helps to improve their relationships, connectivity, confidence, feedback acceptance, and progress.


Confidence: A lack of confidence means there is a fear, the only way to get over this fear is with practice and positive reinforcement. When an employee’s confidence goes up, their motivation, engagement, attitude, and progress go up with it. They feel empowered and ready to accomplish whatever task they have and to do it well.


Connectivity: This refers to an employee’s connection to their job, their teammates, their boss, and to their organization. Connectivity is essential for employees to stay motivated and achieve their goals. When you improve connectivity, it also builds motivation, relationships, confidence and progress.

Engagement: This one is big. When an employee is engaged, the results are limitless. An engaged employee produces outstanding work and continually makes progress. In the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends research of 2014, 78% of business leaders rated engagement as extremely important. Engagement leads to improved self-development, relationships, relationships, attitude and progress.


Feedback Acceptance: Coaching is about feedback, without feedback employees would not know what they are doing well and what they need to change. The goal of feedback is for it to be received in a way that the employee gains something from it. Feedback by itself is useless, but feedback that is accepted and applied to a task or situation can make a huge difference. When an employee is able to accept feedback in a positive and helpful way, they can improve their motivation, confidence, self-development and progress.

Motivation: This is another big one. When an employee is motivated there isn’t anything they can’t do. An employee who is motivated is ready to take on the world. When employees are motivated they get more done, and overall, they do a better job. Coaching an employee to increase their motivation also increases their confidence, feedback acceptance, self-development, engagement, and progress.


Progress: You may have noticed that progress has been mentioned in every principle so far, and, spoiler, it will be in the ones to follow as well. Progress is a result of the improvement of each of the other Foundational Attributes. The purpose of coaching is progress, we coach employees to help them progress toward their goals, which helps the company progress toward its goal. Progress is also the number one motivator, everyone wants to improve. Progress is a Foundational principle because it is the result of the increase in each of the other Foundational principle, and when someone coaches to increase progress, each of the Foundational Attributes increases as well.


Relationships: This one is a little different from the rest; this is more focused on an employee’s relationship with their teammates and with their manager. It may seem less important, but if you think about it, if an employee has one bad relationship can negatively affect the work they do with that person, lower their progress, their motivation, and their attitude. Now they are low in four of the Foundational Attributes and are producing work that is less than their best. Having good relationships can increase motivation, feedback acceptance, engagement, connectivity, and progress.


Self-Development: If an employee is not invested in themselves, then how can you as a manager invest in them? Coaching to increase and encourage self-development is vital to the company and to the employee. Increased self-development can lead to higher confidence, engagement, motivation, feedback acceptance, and progress.


Once an employee has a strong background in the Foundational Attributes, they are ready to be coached in the performance areas. These Attributes allow employees to be more accepting of training, more understanding of coaching, and more willing to put both to use. With these Attributes employees are enabled and excited to reach their goals.

Would you like to measure your foundational attributes: check out her new assessment platform Get Your Pulse: click here

Tim Hagen

Written by Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Progress Coaching, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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