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How CEOs Can Change from Referee to Coach

"You have another meeting with HR and Legal this morning..."



Senior executives are too often engaged in negative workplace behavioral issues that should be handled at a lower level.


It's a big problem because it steals your most valuable non-renewable resource (time).


Left unchecked, executives feel burdened with uncomfortable issues that are too hot to ignore and blocked from executing the important things that only they can do. They're left feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and frustrated.


Negative workplace behavior degrades morale, production, retention, and recruiting.


Rather than avoiding or enduring bad behavior in the workplace, let's recognize the executive-level role and take steps to get ahead of the problem.


When we address workplace behavior, then everyone feels more secure, valued, and fulfilled. Operational performance, retention, and recruitment improves. Goals are more easily achieved and strategic objectives are realized.


As a kick-start, try these best practices:


➡ Incorporate Expectations. Add an assessment of professional workplace behavior into your performance review system to reflect leadership's standards and give supervisors an accountability tool.


It's not enough to measure "what" was completed. You must also give feedback on "how" it was completed. Consider quantitative metrics that require supervisors to assess an employee's demonstrated behavior in --


1. Ownership and Accountability

2. Initiative and Engagement.

3. Respect and Communication

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

5. Demonstrated Critical Thinking

6. Technical (or Managerial) Expertise


➡ Lead the leaders.


🌟 Directly reinforce positive behaviors and redirect negative workplace behaviors when you see them.


🌟 Coach and encourage direct reports to do the same. During your one-on-one engagements, pro-actively ask about positive and negative situations in their departments, AND what actions they're taking to either reinforce and redirect as appropriate.


Leaders have the duty and obligation to set expectations and give clear feedback -- especially when it's uncomfortable. Having hard conversations is part of leadership. Designing and implementing accountability at scale is in your job description.


Be the coach, not the referee.


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