How many of you actually spend some part of your work-day talking to someone? I’m not talking about the mindless gossiping required for you to de-stress and cheer yourself up during a boring or stressed filled day. Rather it is making conversation that is important for your work, and it is not entirely about the technical nature of your work, be it analysis of businesses, engineering analysis, economic analysis, medicine etc.
What I’m talking about is the process of coaching, either for yourself or for your team. Or perhaps coaching might be too strong a word. Maybe you can call it building relationships and giving advice whenever required.
For yourself: Talking to bosses and superiors and asking quality questions about how you can improve yourself. Or even questions that consult them on how they did it. For example, how did they manage both work and life on such a dedicated balance and still find time for their other interests? Or things like, how did they manage to survive long meetings without day dreaming?
For your team: Did you speak to your team members individually on how they can improve and reach their own goals. Or do you talk about their goals at all?
I’ve been reading a book on execution, and one of the key tenets of executing is that you have to have team development. When something isn’t right, you have to speak to your team members, find out what’s wrong and guide them into the correct path. Only then can you have effective team members assisting you in your day to day jobs. Team development is such an important part of life that I feel it is worth that 30 minutes to 1 hour of your work day.
That frank opinion coupled with a sincere outlook helps the member to trust you as their leader. By being honest with them and allowing them to speak unabashed will allow you to probe into their deep inner self and find out their real goals – not those goals in which they want to be politically correct. It’s hard, but it will be more effective if the goals are their sincere goals. And the follow up must not be hindered. We need to help them set their own goals and work towards it.
I’ve recently had a short conversation with a newly posted in officer who wants to get a prestigious scholarship to study overseas. He is smart, yes, much more than me during my JC days. Plus he came from a good JC background that seemed as if he should get a scholarship. Yet a scholarship shouldn’t just be about grades. In a career like mine, what people are looking out for are more than people who can study. There is a wealth of knowledge that was not taught in schools – interpersonal relationships, working effectiveness, having a commanding presence, the ability to think strategically and not tactically, to name a few.
I’m not too sure how it went given my lack of experience at trying to connect with people on a deeper emotional level, but I sure hoped my words affected him somehow. Perhaps my expectations of a potential scholar is too high, but I cannot be blamed. For if I lower my expectations any more, I would be questioning why I wasn’t given such an opportunity. I know for sure that I am not of a high level, thus it wasn’t surprising that at the age of 19 I wasn’t awarded the necessary scholarships. Hopefully I will see a renewed sense of determination, a commanding presence as I go back to work tomorrow.
It would make my day if someone came in raw and unpolished, but left my workplace like a polished gem because I spent some time and effort polishing the areas that require effort with.
So, have you taken some time to communicate recently?