Auto Shop Coaching Blog

4 Must-Have Conversations with Your Team

One of the greatest skills for a leader to have is exceptional communication. The quality of the conversations and the frequency with which you have them will lead to a more engaged team that will deliver the performances you are looking for.

There are four core conversations a leader must prepare to have consistently with their team to see results. Be sure you plan the agenda prior to the meeting and collect the data you will need. Be clear with your intentions for the meeting, and be cognizant of your tone, words, and body language exhibited throughout the conversations.

Here are the four must-have conversation types:

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1. Goal-Setting Conversations

Start with clear goals, targets, and objectives. Set associates up for success, growth, and development personally and professionally. Be sure the goal is written down. Show the milestones they will achieve on the journey toward accomplishing their goals. Allow them to participate in the discussion of how they will make the goal become reality and how their achievement helps the business succeed. There must be an agreement by all parties before closing the conversation. Using ATI’s SMART goal process (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timebound) with an action plan (what, when, how, who) will make things clear to the leader and the associate.

2. Praising Conversations

Work to reinforce the good behaviors you have observed often. Positive conversations support building a strong relationship of trust and rapport with your associates. This is where the leader can work to being a servant leader, by lifting up their associates along the journey with encouragement and faith that they can achieve more than they ever thought they could. Being positive and staying focused on the present is important — being specific to discuss what you observed is vital. Do not rely on just hearing “thank you” from your employee; instead, get precise and specific.

3. Redirecting Conversations

There are times when associates’ specific behaviors will be out of alignment with their goals. Redirecting the associate’s behaviors will help them recognize the behavior that is out of alignment and work to correct that behavior. Redirecting is done immediately, honestly, with kindness, and no blaming or judging. To do this, describe the error and then work to re-clarify the goal. Allow the associate’s perspective to be shared encouraging reflection you listen. Ask how they will correct the error. Be clear on their next steps and actions to be taken for the correction, and finally an agreement on monitoring and measuring results and a follow-up date specified to review results. Allow them to see you care about their success and are confident that they will be able to make the correction.

4. Wrapping Up Conversations

When an assignment or project is completed, celebrate and acknowledge the learning, the growth, and the inspiration from the accomplishment. Make success something everyone wants by celebrating your team. Let them see accomplishing goals is well worth it. Be sure to ask for their feedback and thoughts about their accomplishments. Discuss the results and the impact on the business with their accomplishments. A great tool to conduct a postmortem on accomplishing the goal is ATI’s SWOT method (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) — learn what can we do better next time.

Intentional conversations keep the team moving in the right direction. There are many twists and turns during the journey, however, conversations will bring you and your team back to the right path that you all agreed on for the direction and goals to be accomplished. There are no failures only learns — we grow from taking action and evaluating results. Jump in and start your conversations!

It can be strange at first, but once you develop the habit of holding these conversations regularly, they will become second nature and your team will appreciate your involvement with them. You will garner respect and loyalty from them because you showed the same to them. Download our guide to 1-on-1 meetings and be sure to attend one of our ATI events so you can learn more about leading your team to success.

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LeAnne is an Executive Coach at ATI and has been coaching for over 16 years. LeAnne loves assisting others in the achievement of their personal and business goals. She helps people find the goals and dreams they really what and aids in structuring and implementing a plan to achieve those goals and dreams.