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Lead Like a Coach

How to Get the Most Out of Any Team

By Karen Morley
  • Read in 13 minutes
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  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Lead Like a Coach by Karen Morley

Lead Like a Coach (2018) is a how-to guide to the coaching model of leadership. Packed with advice and insight, these blinks are the perfect companion for any leader looking to up their game. Making a clear case for the benefits of coaching over older managerial styles, they explain why coaching is so relevant today and why many organizations are opting to switch to this model.

Key idea 1 of 8

The principal role of leadership in the modern workplace should be to motivate employees.

Workplaces have changed a lot over the past century, but leadership styles generally haven’t kept pace. Most managers today are still using techniques that haven’t been updated in decades - and it shows. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, most employment was in agriculture and manufacturing. This kind of work was manual labor, and it was arduous, repetitive and dull. The monotonous, repetitive nature of the work meant there was a strong resemblance between the motions of the workers and the machines they were using. What’s more, company hierarchies were rigid and there was little mobility between tiers.

In this type of workplace, a controlling management style would have been effective; management’s main objective was simply to ensure that everybody stayed in their places and performed the tasks assigned to them.

Fast forward a hundred years, and the workplace is unrecognizably changed. There’s much greater mobility, and work has become more abstract. Much of the labor undertaken in the modern workplace is about organizing people and time; building relationships with customers and between staff; doing research and creating unique content such as articles and webpages. Unlike in more menial forms of labor, productivity doesn’t increase when employees engaged in these types of work are pressured to work harder. In fact, direct pressure can degrade the quality of work produced by increasing stress and decreasing motivation.

The main objective of authority in the modern workplace is to motivate workers to do a better job. That’s why the modern workplace no longer needs managers - it needs leaders

Motivation is the single greatest contributor to productivity. Many studies have proven that employees perform better when they’re happy and motivated. One 2016 study by Gallup researchers Nink and Robison quantified how companies benefit from engaged and motivated employees, showing that highly motivated teams have lower staff turnover, fewer safety incidents, less absenteeism, better customer satisfaction, and greater overall productivity.

But how many employees are motivated at work? Based on a 2017 survey, Gallup’s analytics estimated only about one-third of the workforce.

That’s a lot of wasted potential.

That’s why the main focus of good leadership today shouldn’t be the work itself but the people doing it. If you can get them motivated, you can get them to produce better work.

Coaching is the model of leadership best suited to motivating a workforce, one that treats people with respect, emphasizes learning and development, and distributes power and freedom more equally.

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