by Razor Suleman | March 26, 2012
In January, we targeted five ways for managers to recognize employees and drive results. Here, we are going to focus on number one: “Be a coach, not just a boss.”

What’s the key to success when the pressure is on or when the stakes are high? What is the glue that keeps high-performers in sync with the critical mission? Victorious workplaces have one thing in common: solid coaching.

Even the best sports team cannot succeed without a coach who drives achievement. Top coaches provide clear goals and direction to build teams with diverse skills and whose talent is cultivated and nurtured. Strategic coaching is required to prepare and lead teams to wins, and this extends to the manager-employee relationship in the workplace. People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.

It is the manager’s role to inspire his team to effectively execute and be held accountable for the work they produce. Managers can learn how to become workplace coaches by adopting four key tactics:

1. Home Team Advantage
“Home team advantage” is a term used in sports to describe the significant advantage home teams have against visiting opponents because of their supportive fans. Similarly in the workplace, employees with great management and support have the home team advantage. Great managers cheer on their teams with recognition and provide real-time feedback in order to drive them to perform to their highest potential. According to the Hay Group, companies with the most cheered-on employees enjoy 2.5 times greater revenue growth than competitors with the lowest level of engagement.

2. Power Plays
Effective managers will use their hardest-working team members to spearhead opportunities. When managers mesh together employees' skills with possibility, it is a management strategy that allows employees’ potential to be maximized. Managers who develop skills, support employees' new ideas and processes, and provide clear goals and direction will discover that employees will grow when they are given autonomy, as will the business’ bottom line.

3. Team Huddles
Great coaches and managers alike communicate clearly and openly and are aware of their team members’ skill sets and use them effectively. Great managers give feedback at least every seven days to their employees to keep them aligned to goals. Acting proactively, as opposed to reactively, allows managers to set their team players up for success. They head into challenges prepared and motivated to achieve.

4. Star of the Game
Recognition of good work reinforces the team, feel inspired to contribute, and finally execute. Great managers use recognition on a specific, timely, and frequent basis to highlight and promote the behaviors that drive outstanding performance. Similar to a coach who praises the player with scoring the game-winning goal, a manager should validate hard work, drive positive behaviors, and increase the team’s reputability to secure future results.

Incorporating a coaching and recognition strategy will close the loop on effective management and serve as an engagement solution to turn up team morale, which, in turn, will raise performance. Today’s employees want to be acknowledged for successes affecting the company and are more inclined to drive results when their work is celebrated. Evolving your management style to support teamwork with strategic coaching will help you begin to create a positive change. 

Razor Suleman is the chief evangelist and founder of Achievers (Formerly I Love Rewards). Achievers' global rewards and social recognition software engages employees and drives performance. For more information, visit