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Why Executive Leadership Coaching Can Be Good For You

I once read this quote: “you’re on the wrong side of your eyeballs to be objective about you.”

I love that quote! It’s both short and powerful.

Unfortunately, I do not remember the source of that quote, and I wasn’t able to find it in preparing to write this article. Still it is a true statement.

As the quote says, we are all on the wrong side of our eyeballs to be objective about ourselves.

Leaders need objective evaluation of data, approaches, and outcomes to make better and more effective decisions. They need good, solid feedback from other people so that they can evaluate the quality of their decisions, the results of their actions,  and the impact of their interactions with others – both on their teams and with their peers.

Executive leadership coaching is a service that provides leaders with this necessary and vital feedback so that they can learn and grow as leaders.

A good leadership coach will look you in the eye and give you direct, honest input and perspective to facilitate your personal growth and development. They will offer this input whether you want to hear the feedback or not. And, as a leader, that type of honest and direct feedback is what you want.

You probably won’t get this kind of feedback from your team because they will likely be afraid to tell you for fear of negative repercussions on the job.

You are not likely to get it from your peers because they might not see you clearly or they might have powerful motives to hide their true perspective.

And, your supervisor likely sees you through a filter that does not allow them to be totally objective about your decisions, behaviors and interactions with others.

You can be a good leader without coaching. You will probably not become a great leader without it.

Executive leadership coaching can give you the feedback, perspective, and objectivity you need to become the leader you want to be.

Six Tips for Confronting Bad Workplace Behaviors

It is a fact of organizational life – negative, unacceptable behaviors will happen.
When they do, the leader must address them.

I normally emphasize the benefits of encouraging positive, productive behaviors over punishing negative ones. However, my clients and seminar participants often ask questions like:

  • “What about team members who don’t want to play nice?” or
  • “What if I can’t find anything positive to reinforce?”

The short answer is this: “Confront negative behaviors early and decisively.”

When you fail to confront negative behaviors, you subtly signal acceptance of them. In effect, you encourage them to continue. As Admiral William F. Halsey said, “All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them, but confront them.”

Personally, I prefer encouraging people to disciplining them. Encouragement is more comfortable to me – therein lays the problem. Encouragement is more comfortable to me. Any time I act out of personal comfort rather than appropriateness of response, I fail in my leadership role.

For about 10 or 20 per cent of the population, confronting problem behaviors is a no-brainer. These people are comfortable with confrontation. They do it naturally. However, the rest of us feel some stress and discomfort in a conflict situation.

My desire for peace and harmony sometimes stops me from quickly confronting negative behaviors. The paradox is this. As the leader of a team, if I do not address negative behaviors, I will get more of them. And, in the end, I will have less peace and harmony. In order to get what I do want, I have to do what I do not want to do.

Most people have a list of negative behaviors they have seen in the workplace. Here is a partial list of some behaviors/issues I have had to address:

  • Interrupting meetings
  • Supervisors treating employees poorly
  • Employees verbally attacking each other
  • Extreme body odor
  • Lack of attention in meetings
  • Too many personal phone calls at work
  • And many others.

For people who, like me, would rather avoid a confrontation, I offer these suggestions to ease the stress:

Be prepared

Pre-plan what you intend to say. In most situations, I don’t suggest that you read a prepared statement. However, you should be prepared.

Be brief

Get to the point quickly, and stay on topic. You will find it easier to be brief if you prepare in advance.

Be specific

Make sure you speak about specific behaviors – not your interpretations.

Here are some examples:

  • Rude, inconsiderate, disrespectful, arrogant, obnoxious, flighty, unfocused, smart aleck, and pushy are interpretations.
  • Interrupting, rolling eyes, speaking loudly (or softly), shrugging shoulders, looking away, walking away, and tone of voice are specific behaviors.

Explain the impact

Tell the person how other people perceive their behavior or how it affects team performance.

State the desired alternative – Go beyond a description of the negative behavior to describe what you expect in the future. By stating the desired positive behavior, you can use positive reinforcement rather than punishment to drive performance in the future.

Stay calm

The behavior may frustrate you, but now is not the time to vent. You want them to focus on your message and their behavior, not your frustration or anger.

By failing to address problem behaviors, leaders get more of them. As noted behavioral analyst Aubrey Daniels said, “Problems in the workplace are often created not by what we do, but by what we fail to do.”