Webster's Dictionary describes a "partner" as an ally or an association built around common interests and goals.
A partnership denotes a joint venture, a relationship built on equal status (rather than inequality). Mutual consent and consideration from both parties are important attributes.
Organizations need leaders with a personal commitment to the idea of building partnerships with employees by establishing goals and missions, listening, being accessible, understanding, empowering others, and maintaining accountability. They need leaders with a sense of dedication for employee productivity, who develops unconditional support and concern. They need leadership coaching to change employees' patterns of reacting to situations to a more "proactive" style of influencing events. They need people who are empowered risk takers, who can accomplish and break through tasks. Dictatorial edicts, autocratic requests, domineering opinions that amount to marching orders, have no place in this kind of partnership.
Partnering is a more useful approach to building a relationship with an employee. A problem-solving or motivational one-on-one coaching exchange acknowledges a mature adult-to-adult relationship and allows both parties to participate. The employee recognized the coach's greater experience, and the coach appreciates and helps develop employee talent.
A Two-Way Process
Leadership coaching is a two-way street, which involves quality communication and trust between the manager and the employee. Its underlying premise is always mutual benefit. The better one partner looks, the better the other will too. A lot of power and creativity can come from both managers and employees working together to build and maintain this two-way partnership relationship.
Leadership coaching is a responsibility to effectively coach, train, and develop employees. Research demonstrates that skillful leaders use their ability to listen, reason, ask penetrating questions, and bring out the best in employees. Top managers show that they are really trying to understand the other person. They are coachable themselves. They rely less on authority and dictums and more on collaboration and negotiation. Effective leaders blend and weave ideas and solutions, and when appropriate defer to the employee. They avoid hammering on employees, criticizing their work and acting in non-productive ways.
Employees also have responsibilities. Those who refuse to participate treat the job mechanically, are disinterested, and in shared responsibility and authority many need to be dismissed ? as compassionately and gracefully as possible. Others may need to be brought along slowly until they are helping solve job challenges and other problems.
Quality employees will perform whether a supervisor is watching over them or not. They recognize the key to success is pulling together. Teamwork, mutual benefit, and trust are important guide words for them.
Sometimes building and maintaining a good partnership is not easy. Talking straight to your partner (whether it be a spouse, employee, or a manager) takes a lot of candor, skill, and courage. However, difficulties can be overcome, and in the long run, the benefits are worth the effort.
When you come right down to it, employers and employees have a lot more in common than they have differences. They both can benefit by successful partnerships. As resources are used efficiently and accountability is embraced, salaries will improve through achievement as well as job satisfaction. Everything considered, good leadership coaching between the manager and employee makes a lot of sense and is in the best interest of both parties.
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