October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 4 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 Your Personal Business Trainer V i n c e D i C e c c o BUSINESS MANAGEMENT R ight about now, take a time out and think of your key employees. You know, the go-to people you can always count on? The members of your team who always come through when you're up against a crucial deadline or faced with a challenging situation? Yeah, them. Stop and think about them for a moment. Every well-run business has a cadre of such loyal, dependable, and creative individuals. But, when I ask business owners what aspect of their top performers' work could stand some im- provement, I get some interesting responses. "Hey, I can live with his shortcomings because he's so good at the important things," or, "Sure, everyone can be better at some aspect of their job, but I wouldn't know how to bring up the issue without upsetting her," or, "Hey, I don't mind if he doesn't get here 'til noon, he's willing to stay till the last shirt is printed!" Sound familiar? Take notice of the avoidance tone in each of those statements. It's unfor- tunate because we owe it to all our employees—especially our 'workhorses'—to provide feed- back on their performance. Adopting an if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it—or 'ostrich manage- ment'—approach here is not in your company's best interest. So, let us explore how managers can provide balanced coaching to elevate their workers to that proverbial next level. WHEN TO USE BALANCED COACHING Chances are we've all expressed apprecia- tion to our team members for outstanding work. Believe it or not, balanced coaching is a cousin to recognizing good effort. But its greatest benefit to the business owner or department supervisor is in suggesting a change be made to an employee's behavior without alienating or demotivating them. Consider using balanced coaching when you want to alter some aspect of a worker's performance or the way he or she thinks. You are offering this feedback with the intention for improvement. The effect of your comments, however, may not always match your intent. When people are con- fronted with perceived criticism, they will often react defensively. In a defensive frame of mind, they cannot really hear, accept, or benefit from your well-meant feedback. You can help avoid employees' closed- mindedness—and simultaneously close the gap between your intent and your effect—by recognizing the merit in their work along with the alternatives they may consider that would eliminate the concern. Hence, striking a balance between what you want to retain and what you want to change. DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST Let's apply this technique to a specific ex- ample. Maria is one of your hardest work- ing people. She is first to work most days. She often works after normal hours to fin- ish up a job or assignment. The quality of her work is top notch and you're not aware of any deadlines she's missed. As a bonus, she has the unique ability to fire up her colleagues, a quality that has proven itself invaluable. TAKE TOP PERFORMERS TO THE NEXT LEVEL Develop Winners Through Balanced Coaching

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