The Coach's Corner - Newsletter


Posted: Monday, July 2, 2018
By: Gillespie Electric, Inc.
Categories: Construction News

A Message from Bill Harrison – The Coach

Ideas are powerful things; they are not diminished by sharing.

Independence Day is certainly a proud tradition over a couple of centuries. Please say a prayer for those who wear the uniform and their families. They have paid and continue to pay for our freedom.


We will be combining several themes you have read in the past to reduce the drama in the workplace. Regardless of where the drama stems from it can only have negative consequences. Yes, some of those consequences are more serious than others, but all of them are not good for the team.

One of the most astounding phenomena is the large number of team members who do not really know how they are doing. When I surface this fact with management, they are often shocked and sometimes in total disbelief. They just know they are communicating all the time where team members stand.

Folks usually know when they messed up because someone lets them know. But even this isn’t true all of the time. Do you have someone you should have counseled but are putting it off? Are there some issues you have never addressed? I bet the answer is yes.


There is no lack of folks talking about other folks. Sometimes they are talking about someone to others and sometimes we are just talking in our heads. “I can’t believe what Jack did today”, we say to ourselves. Unfortunately we often talk about others in front of their peers. This will create some great drama, you think?

In too many cases we are repeating what someone else said about the person or the incident involving that person. Most of the time what we are repeating is not true; sometimes not even close.

Yes, we will have issues with individuals but there is a simple solution. Talk to people and not about them. I know, you are afraid of confrontation. Guess what, it comes with the territory if you are going to be a grown up mature adult. It is the only alternative to reduce drama in the workplace. And remember, this means talking to them face-to-face; not by cell phone or email or text.

And let’s consider another avenue for face-to-face conversation. This is not just about confrontation, we can also talk to folks about things they are doing well. Remember, in many past newsletters I have reminded you that appreciation is the number one motivator of a human being.

Instead of talking about what someone missed, talk to them and become a coach or a mentor to them. I am always surprised when someone with eighteen years in the trade doesn’t get it that the new apprentice with only six months in the trade doesn’t know much yet.

The way new team members learn is by having someone work with them and coach them so they can get up to speed much faster than by just watching someone do it.

Who Is to Blame

This is going to be a real challenge for many of you. When things go wrong on the Navy Seal Teams who is held accountable? It is not someone down in the ranks but the person in charge of the operation! “What?” you might ask, “That can’t be right”.

Ok, let’s take an example. Someone down the line hires a new team member. In a short time that team member fails and must be made a free agent; prefer that to the words fired, let go, terminated, etc. Who is to blame?

Obviously it’s the person who did the hiring, right? Maybe not. Almost no one in most of the organizations I have dealt with over decades has been trained on how to interview someone. The person at the top should give his team members all the help possible in doing their jobs.

Maybe someone assigned a task to a team member suspecting that person didn’t have the skills to do that task; and they weren’t disappointed. Many team members are set up to fail, aren’t they? I know all the excuses for doing this but none of them make sense. Is that the culture that is acceptable in your organization?

When team members are failing in whatever area that is a reflection on the leadership of the company. Way too often there is a failure in providing proper training for the team members. Most training is on-the-job and far too many folks have no clue how to provide real effective OJT.

What do most folks say is a problem in their company? Right – communication. When poor communication exists it is a failure of leadership. The senior folks must be held accountable when things are not working well in any area of the company – office or field.

Now, this is important. It is not just about blame but about finding solutions to make things work better. Instead of blaming others accept the blame yourself and choose to find a solution.


Another tough component for you. I am often asked what managers need to do to hold folks accountable. Holding team members accountable seems to be at the top of many folks lists this year.

My response is very simple. “What are you doing to hold yourself accountable?” When things are not going well somewhere in the organization we usually have a failure of management and/or leadership.

Here are some possibilities I am referring to:

  • We know exactly what the “problem” is but hope it will go away by itself.
  • We promote folks but do not train them for their new position.
  • We expect folks to know how they are doing.
  • We scoot around the tough issues instead of dealing with them head on.
  • We have different standards for friends and relatives.
  • We lack plans and procedures and checklists and just hope things go well.
  • We have plans and procedures and checklists but don’t require folks to follow them.
  • Different “managers” have different standards for the same thing.
  • Senior team members stay in their offices and do not get where the action is.
  • If they do visit the field they can only find things wrong.

    Are you getting the message? Accountability starts at the top. Then drama will be reduced significantly. Got a comment – let me know.

The Phoenix Leadership Institute, Inc.

6200 Settlers Trail Place

Gainesville, VA 20155

Tel: 703-909-8230


Coaching for profitable results


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