Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for February, 2010

Clarity of roles and responsibilities is crucial—yet sometimes missing.

As leaders, we have a responsibility to offer every opportunity to an individual to succeed at work. This includes providing clarity around someone’s role, setting clear expectations, providing the necessary tools and resources to succeed, and providing effective follow up and coaching.

I am amazed at how often I meet individuals who are not sure what their role is as it may relate to a particular project, or managing a team, or their part or freedom in making recommendations for strategy.

I do believe these individuals have a responsibility to ask for clarity. However, if you are a leader/manager you hold a great deal of responsibility to communicate expectations.

I write this to share just one powerful suggestion. If you haven’t asked this question of your employees in awhile, ask it today: Are there any areas within your job, where you feel you could use more clarity around your role?

I guarantee their answers will either help you validate or better guide your employees in the right direction towards desirable results. It’s a start anyway.

Check in with employees to maximize further training and coaching efforts.

You may be training and coaching a new employee, or transitioning a more seasoned person into a new role, or simply paying attention to your team’s development. Here’s a quick hit approach that will help you focus, more efficiently, on your employees’ needs, and maximize your training and coaching efforts:

– Set up one-on-one meetings, and ask each person to come well prepared to answer these questions:

What job responsibilities do you feel most proficient in, and confident about performing?

With what specific job responsibilities or strategies would you welcome more coaching and support?

Are there any new responsibilities that you feel you’re ready to take on or are interested in learning more about?

This simple approach will provide immediate opportunities for employee engagement, performance validation, and efficient training and coaching strategies.

A strong imagination may help public speaking jitters.

I’ve been presenting in front of audiences, small and large, for 25 years. And although I enjoy it, it’s not unusual for my breath to shorten and my palms to get sweaty, in those few minutes before stepping on stage or in front of a room full of people. I realize that for some, public speaking is much more stressful. For others, it may be paralyzing.

For those of you who either choose to present, or are in professional roles that call for public speaking, using your imagination may help.

In the days prior to your presentation, try visualizing regularly, a perfect presentation and audience response.

Imagine that you’re completely relaxed, in control and feeling great. Visualize right down to the details of what you’ll be wearing (which should be something you feel great in).

At first, simply visualize yourself comfortably calm, and imagine your audience approaching you afterwards to thank you for a great presentation.

While you’re visualizing, make an effort to relax your hands and fingers. You’ll be amazed at how this small action will help your entire body relax. (If you find yourself tensing during your presentation, consciously relax your hands and fingers. It may help you mentally tap into the relaxed state of mind you experienced during your visualization.)

In addition to conditioning your mental state, be sure to be well prepared. Once you’ve memorized the flow of your presentation, you can incorporate the overall flow of the presentation into your visualization.

So before your next presentation, give it a try—sit back, close your eyes, relax, and imagine the best.