Every leader is also a coach. Here are ways to pump up energy and enthusiasm that will maximize every employee's abilities and uncover hidden strengths and talents that were just under the radar.

Staff Writer

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Imagine how much you could accomplish if your team all pulled together with a shared purpose of unified success.

Sound impossible?

Is it because you can’t get the procrastinator to hand his or her part of the project in on time? Or because you have some naysayers who are always finding fault with the way projects are being directed? Or maybe you have a whiner and complainer who spends precious time delving into personal problems day after day. Does it feel hopeless to change these needed yet not exemplary team players?

Not impossible.

There are ways to neutralize problem employees by offering them an emotional x-ray so they can see where the key issues are and what to do about them.

Look, work is not a rehab facility!

However, it is a place to learn and grow. Once you see your role as a coach who can direct people to do their own work around emotional intelligence, you can communicate to them more effectively and accurately.

No, you’re not counseling them. You’re merely pointing them in a direction to find their own blind spots and offer ways to “get out of their own way.”

Offer your employees a roadmap to personal awareness and then leave the coaching to the experts. However, remember that no one will take advice they have not asked for. So, your job is to get them to ask. Yes, your job is to lead them to a place where they can say “holy cow, dog, or whatever! I now see where I’ve been stuck and I want to ask you, my boss to help me find the ways to get unstuck.”

Eureka! You have done your job. Now get them to the right transformational coach to take it from there.

Here are the strategies you can use with your direct reports, all of them, right now. Don’t wait. Do these three things now, so you can be ready for 2017 and get your team to pull together instead of flailing around like a dog or cow or whatever, chasing its tail.

Question 1: What behavior do you think you repeat that gets in the way of team effectiveness? It’s okay to ask about patterns. Yes, pattern repetition. That’s about behaviors that repeat and repeat and don’t seem to ever change. You will be surprised how often individuals can go right to where they are lacking.

They never really discuss this because no one ever really asked!

Remember the procrastinator? Here is how you communicate in a different manner. First, tell them you value them (unless you don’t and then you should get HR involved; that’s a different situation entirely). Let’s stay with value them and being frustrated by their lateness with everything. The work is good just never on time. Here is script to refer to: “John or Joanne, I really think you’re a smart and creative person. I also know you have a lot to get done. I want to bring out the best in you and I want to explore what happens when you’re late with your work. How does that impact the others on the team and what does their disappointment mean to you?” That’s the beginning. To create a dialog about the interactions that occur. This is often the missing link when you’re annoyed and frustrated. It becomes about the team rather than just reprimanding the late individual.

The reasons people procrastinate are many. However, one key is often fear of being told their work is not good enough, a left over negative remembering from childhood. Think of it this way, the longer you can wait to hand in a project the longer the time you have to wait to be reprimanded. Does it make sense? It does to the kid who got yelled at by his or her parents. These invisible patterns are there, waiting to be discovered and released.

Question 2: What can I do to be helpful to you. Here, any answer but “I don’t know” will work. If someone answers “I don’t know” you respond with “Hey, if you did know.” That usually opens the door for a real honest answer. I suggest that often the best way to be helpful is to guide the procrastinator to a transformational coach. It’s not your job to take them down the road to behavior change. It is, however, your job to direct them there.

Question 3: What can you do to support the team? Once someone gets a clearer understanding that the team is more than just a group of separate individuals something magic often happens. Being asked to help is a powerful and important question. Turning the issue away from pain in the butt behavior to a collaborative understanding can make all the difference.

I have put together a Pattern Aware Quiz so each of you can find the behavior(s) that get in the way of team success. There are 13 patterns. See which one “has your name on it.” If each person learns to observe, understand, and transform their repetitive patterns, I can guarantee that the team will move to new heights and make your job more fun and successful.

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