Are you tired of staff drama? Does all your time seem to be spent as a referee between “he said, she said”? If your answer is yes, then this post is for you. It’s time you changed your role from referee to coach and these five steps will help you make the transition.
1. Set new rules for your team: No drama and No negativity
It’s time you assert your own leader role and create the company culture that you want for your business. You must lead by example so if you expect no drama or negativity from your staff you must be positive and hold staff accountable when drama starts to creep into a situation. Key to this approach is to act quickly so issues don’t fester and to be consistent in your approach with all staff members. You must also be prepared to let employees go that keep violating your new culture requirements. It can seem difficult at the time, but every employee can be replaced.
2. Document job expectations
Detailed job descriptions that specify responsibilities and expectations of each job are an important tool in holding staff accountable for their job performance. When hired each employee should read and sign their job description as evidence they know and understand what is expected. Equally important is documented policies and procedures that are required as a condition of employment and in completing their assigned job tasks.
3. Formalize your staff training program
A formal staff training program provides consistency in preparing each employee to perform their roles to your expectations. A good training program includes checks to confirm that staff apply the knowledge and skills learned appropriately on the job. The goal of new hire training is to provide timely feedback and to keep bad habits from developing. The Knowing Dogs staff training program teaches technical dog knowledge and management skills and also includes tools to aid retention and application to job duties.
4. Evaluate performance
Provide regular feedback to employees on their job performance. In a positive work environment you will want to focus on recognizing and rewarding each time they exceed your expectations or achieve a new skill level goal. Focus on the results you want to achieve and involve your staff in deciding how they will be accomplished. Our bonus gift this month for members of The Dog Gurus is a detailed employee performance checklist. This tool makes it easy to coach staff on specific areas of their performance that need improvement.
Once you’ve implemented the first three steps, staff have clear expectations so discussions change tone to coaching to improve versus correcting unwanted behaviors. Staff that have repeated violations are probably not in a good job fit so it’s best for everyone to end the relationship.
5. Hire for soft skills
With a solid staff training program you have the tools to teach new hires the technical dog knowledge required for the job. What is very difficult is trying to teach soft skills like dependability, positive outlook, teamwork, communication and dispute resolution. Focus your hiring process on identifying candidates that have these skills and are eager to learn the dog knowledge.
We recommend you always take applications and when you find candidates with the perfect set of soft skills you hire them.
Coaching discussions are energizing and a fun approach to management. Implement the five steps outlined and eliminate the drama from your team. Which soft skills do you find are most important for your team members? Share your thoughts in a comment below.