A good manager should be able to answer the following question for each of their direct reports:
What is the biggest obstacle your employee is facing right now?
If you don’t know the answer to this question then you need to figure it out. And keep in mind that the answer doesn’t always have to be professional. Sometimes the biggest obstacle an employee is facing has to do with something going on in his/her personal life. Either way, a good manager will know about it.
Now, just because you know what the obstacle is doesn’t mean it’s your job to fix it. As a manager and coach sometimes it’s about empowering the employee to fix it himself. It might be coaching them through a difficult conversation with a peer, giving them the flexibility to work on a problem at home, or helping them find training to get back on track.
The only way to empower your employees to do their best work everyday is to help them break down the roadblocks that prevent them from success. And the only way to help them break down these roadblocks is to know what they are.
Editors Note: When it comes to her professional life, Marisa Keegan is passionate about three things; employee engagement, leadership development, and corporate culture. She has helped lead the culture and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. Today Marisa consults and leads seminars for organizations looking to increase productivity by focusing on management training and employee engagement.