Manager as Workplace Coach: Conflict of Interest?
by Kate Nasser |
Corporate leaders, managers, supervisors: Do you have a workplace employee, a direct report, with an attitude problem — negative, or sarcastic, or controlling, or non-collaborative, self-focused, etc …? Feedback from others tells you that it is affecting teamwork, morale, customer service, or the organization’s reputation?
After outlining with the employee how the behavior needs to change, you notice that the behavior persists. No changes. One manager decided that one such employee needed coaching and decided to be the coach.
Are you, as boss, the correct workplace coach for a direct report? Is it a conflict of interest?
You might think that you would make a great workplace coach for a direct report since you know the problem and interact frequently. Let’s think further.
Conflict of Interest
- With issues of attitude, will your employee honestly tell you if he doesn’t want to change? Or will he say he is trying when he isn’t.
- As you coach, will you become emotionally attached to your employee and let his attitude and behavior take precedence over the organization’s goals? “He has had a rough year.” “He or she is valuable anyway.”
- Even with specific goals for a direct report to improve/change within a certain time frame, will you be able to take decisive action if he or she doesn’t improve? Or will you question your coaching skill or struggle with the employee’s struggle?
It is possible to maintain your objectivity and be an effective coach. I have witnessed it. I have also seen managers (like the boss in the opening example) who decide to coach because they cannot make a decision about an employee who is in the wrong job.
If you have shown that you focus on the organization’s results and inspire/require positive action from all to get there, you may not fall prey to emotion and doubt. You know the difference between coaching and parenting and your employees will see the difference as well.
If this is not your strength, let someone else who is objective and unbiased coach your direct reports. (FYI:The employees would need to be aware that the coach will update you with progress reports.)
If you struggle with tough people decisions even with input from an outside coach, consider engaging a coach yourself. A coach will help you identify the underlying reasons you struggle with this and what to do about it. Your career will take on new possibilities as you discover more about yourself. From there, options will seem clearer and less daunting.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, customer service, customer experience, and teamwork. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.