As Managers, we are busy with many demands on our time. There are goals to achieve, reviews to write, customers to call, and growth strategies to figure out. And, sometimes you might experience a day when it feels like all you have accomplished was answering staff questions that they shouldn’t have had to ask. Having a new employee ask questions makes sense, however, having a seasoned employee ask the same questions over and over can be draining – on your time and patience.
I think many of us in management have experienced this and I wish there was a magic wand to solve it, unfortunately I have yet to locate the proper store to purchase it at! So, that leaves me with the time tested basic coaching and communication skills to see if I can restore some of my time. Seasoned employees are a great group of people – you rely on them to be top producers without needing much guidance or input – and that just might be the problem!
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Yes, it’s the one that states you get 80% of your results from 20% of your work. Now, let’s look at this in terms of your staff. Have you ever considered that maybe you are only giving your top producers 20% of your time while your lower producers are taking 80% of your time? Think of it this way – why would you spend time with employees that are super stars….they obviously don’t need you. Or do they???? And, they might be trying to tell you that they need your time and attention by asking questions.
Make sure you are scheduling coaching sessions with your seasoned performers on a regular basis. During these sessions, you won’t cover the technical part of the job, but instead ask questions such as:
- What new skills are you wanting to learn?
- Are there processes that need improving or documentation?
- Are there functions of the position that you could take initiative to improve?
- How are you feeling about certain processes?
- What changes would you make if you were in the manager role?
- What are you struggling with?
- How could I better support you?
These questions will help your top performer know that you care about helping them to grow and make their position at your company even better. And, once trust is developed, you will find out why they are asking questions that you felt they should already know – were they just needing your recognition or is the process outdated and in need of changing.
By taking the time to provide some basic coaching to your staff, including your top performers, they will begin to take initiative to find answers and improve the systems on their own. End result, you will get some of your time back to do the things you need to focus on!
Enjoy your coaching!