October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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1 6 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 From time to time, though, Maria becomes a bit too keen on a task. Although she is neither a supervisor nor a team leader, you've often overheard her authoritatively directing others in a somewhat curt and abrasive manner. You haven't heard any overt complaints but, accord- ing to her colleagues' body language, you interpret that they may be silently annoyed by it. You are, in fact, thinking about promoting Maria and assigning a few people to work under her. Because she has such high standards for her own work, though, you're concerned she may become a taskmaster on a regular basis and alienate some of your other good employees. But if you attempt balanced coaching with Maria at this point, you run the risk of giving feedback that is not relevant, pertinent, or constructive in her eyes. Before you offer any suggestions, you should confirm and clarify your understanding of the circumstances. Asking Maria a few thought-provoking questions should help you un- derstand what overall effect she thinks she has on her colleagues and why she interacts with them the way she does. You may want to ask Maria… • How do you think your co-workers would describe you and your work ethic? What would they consider your strengths, as well as opportunities for improvement? • What work situations do you find most rewarding, and which most stressful/challenging? • If you could turn back time and react to a frustrating situation differently, what would you do and why? For example? BALANCE MERITS WITH CONCERNS Naturally, people will have difficulty improving their performance if they don't know which aspects are satisfactory and which are not. Hopefully, your conversations with Maria have left you with the impression that she is willing to consider alternatives to her present pattern of behavior in specific situations. If she sees no problem with her actions or doesn't acknowledge an opportunity to improve, your job becomes a bit tougher, but you can still utilize balanced coaching. The components of balanced coaching are three-fold, and sequential: • First, express your understanding of the circumstance • Specifically recognize the merits the person currently possesses or has dem- onstrated • Present what aspects of their perfor- mance concern you and what you would like to see changed. Your counseling of Maria might go some- thing like this: "I appreciate how hectic and stressful the production schedule can get around here. Each time we face a tight deadline, you work tirelessly to see the job is done right and on time. That's what I call delivering customer satisfaction. What I'm concerned about is the toll your ap- proach may take on the other folks in your crew when you're impatient with them in the process. I'm certain you'd like to count on their unconditional support on future jobs. Sometimes, though, when people feel they've been treated gruffly, they're not that anxious to help the next time." When providing balanced coaching, it is just as important to retain and encourage BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Your Personal Business Trainer Avoid using the word 'but' as a bridge between the merit and the concern. Somehow, when people hear the word "but", they tend to discount, devalue and/or forget what preceded it.

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