Problem: A manager is new to supervising others and describes himself as having a “hard shell” and that he doesn’t need praise for doing his job. During the coaching session he says, “I don’t want to have to pat my people on the back for just showing up and doing their job.”

Solution:We talked about his assumptions about this belief. He was very independent as a child as his sick sibling got a lot of the family attention and as a result, he learned he had to make it on his own. This was a successful belief for him. We also talked about how his people may be different than he is and need different motivation.

He understood this and realized his successful strategy became a fixed rule to deal with others and not be blind to their uniqueness. To reinforce what he had learned, we talked about Marcus Buckingham’s metaphor “that it is easy to treat your people as checkers with all the same moves versus as chess pieces where each player has unique moves and strengths.”

Actions:

  • Be aware of how you are responding to your direct reports. Are you
    dealing with them the way you want to be treated or how
    they may want to be treated?
  • Spend time talking with each team member to be clear of their
    strengths and unique abilities.