No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Gentle Reminders

There’s a great quote I last saw attributed to Samuel Johnson: “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” That’s some of the best coaching advice I’ve heard.

Most of your team members are adults, and most have been with you for a while. That means most of the time they know the right thing. So all you have to do is remind them.

Gentle reminders (“Hey, remember when we talked about . . . “) do some great things. They honor what the person already knows. They acknowledge that mistakes or deviations aren’t always malicious or even intentional. They keep the relationship on more of a peer level.

When you drop into teacher mode, you miss an opportunity. You communicate that you’re smarter than they are. When you lecture them on something they know, you make them feel like you don’t know them very well. You elevate yourself while pushing the team member down.

When you remind, you also give your team member an easy avenue to say, “I haven’t done that in a while; I need a refresher.” That’s them giving you permission to instruct. When they do that, they’ll listen a lot better.

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