Which Hat Do You Choose to Wear?

There is a distinct shift happening in the business world today. The historic model of “Command and Control” management is in direct conflict with updated performance management systems that encourage empowerment and self direction of their teams.  Management skills that may have served a leader well in the past may be limiting their current and future performance. Today’s leader must be an effective coach, mentor and manager to attract, develop and retain talent.

So which hat do you choose to wear?

The Manager Hat

This is the hat that most leaders feel comfortable wearing.  The manager hat focuses on the key functions of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and monitoring the area of responsibility. When a leader wears this hat they “TELL” the team what and how they want things done.  The manager hat is not a consultative hat.  This is the historic hat of the “Command and Control” leader.

The Coaching Hat

This hat requires the leader to think and act differently.  When wearing this hat the leader must consciously adopt a four step process to elevate talent.  Step one is to observe behaviours and actions without bias.  During the second step the observation is then discussed with the employee. “Are you aware that you have been late for work 3 times in the past two weeks?  Why is this happening?”  There is no assumptions in this statement, just facts.  It allows the employee to now join into the conversation stage.  No coaching plan can be developed until the employee is aligned that the observation is relevant and real.  Step three is to build a mutually acceptable plan.  This may be formalized with commitment dates and sign offs but often this is a verbal commitment to take actions to address the concern.  Step four is often ignored.  This is the opportunity for the leader to provide feedback and recognize the improved performance or address outstanding issues.

The coaching hat takes time to feel comfortable.  Leaders need to consciously look for opportunities to wear it and leverage the power of coaching moments.

The Mentor Hat

This is the hat you wear when an individual identifies a skill or talent that they would like to learn from the leader.  It is normally worn for a limited time until the specific request has been filled.   IE.  A new District Manager approached the Finance Director for support in understanding the financial reports.  This request will not take a long period of time but gives both parties the opportunity to share knowledge and build strategic relationships.

Everyday, leaders choose what hat they are going to wear.  To improve talent and elevate performance leaders need to make a conscious decision to wear the Coaching Hat!