Morale builder

Everyone wants to be a great manager. But too often, the stodgy, traditional definition of a leader that exists inside many companies isn’t compatible with the challenges and speed of the Internet age.

People don’t want to work for an iron-fisted dictator; they want someone who is on their side. They want a coach.

Before making any big changes, management expert Marty Brounstein, author of “Coaching & Mentoring for Dummies,” says managers need to evaluate employee performance. If your staff members aren’t delivering the results you need and seem reluctant to take on new responsibilities, Brounstein says it may be time to light a fire under them.

He offers four guidelines for revamping your management style.

Be a coach, not a doer

Coaches achieve the best results by developing employee talents and abilities to their full potential. A manager who follows a “doer” style will focus more on the completion of tasks than managing the people who make up his team.

A coach understands that the success of any project is directly linked to the performance of each individual.

Manage by personal influence

Those who view their job titles as reason enough for employee respect are managing by positional influence, a practice that does nothing but frustrate your work force. Employee morale is better if managers win the allegiance of their staff members by demonstrating traits like honesty and respect.

Take your employees to lunch

Some time away from the office is a great way to stay connected. A lunch provides an opportunity for managers to discuss the details of upcoming projects with workers in a casual atmosphere. People also tend to speak more candidly about sensitive issues outside the office.

Use constructive feedback

Constructive feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, is information-specific, focused and based solidly on observations. General praise and criticism about an employee’s performance is usually very vague and based on feelings rather than the facts. How to reach: Marty Brounstein, (650) 341-8001 or [email protected]; “Coaching & Mentoring for Dummies,”

Jim Vickers ([email protected]) is an associate editor at SBN.