by Michael Holland     

This morning, I brewed a fresh cup of coffee on our Keurig brewer, as I have done many times before. As I watched the coffee trickle into my cup, I began to think about the many different flavors of coffee that are available. In many offices today, you have access to these single-shot coffee brewers and the attitude-adjusting properties of the various flavors.  For example: what mood might “Emeril’s Big Easy Bold” inspire?

As a manager, you should be thinking about adjusting your attitude, persona, perspective every time you prepare to meet with an employee or attend a meeting.  Next time you’re grabbing a K-cup, stop and think about the flavor you’re choosing and how it could “magically” impact your attitude and management approach.

  • Breakfast Blend – Getting business done, having consistent conversations in meetings and with employees.  Perfect for that morning huddle or weekly staff meeting.
  • French Vanilla – Pull back to escape a bit of the crazy day.  See the warmer side of situations and employee interactions.  Great for those weekly feedback sessions.
  • Dark Magic Extra Bold – Turn up the volume!  Your 1:30 pm, post-food coma wake-up call before you start work on next year’s budget, or as you prepare for the reviewing the 127-slide onboarding PowerPoint deck HR wants you to review.
  • Chocolate Glazed Donut – It’s your Friday mid-morning prep for the brainstorming meeting on creative staffing solutions.  Or the late afternoon “cup of joe” to bring along on your one-on-one walking update meeting outside with an employee.
  • Decaf French Roast – Slow down, you’re moving too fast for your team.  Gain the deep, rich taste for deep, rich thoughts without the overstimulation and eye-twitching caffeine high that scares your employees away.

Coffee flavors and strengths can help to temporarily adjust the chemical reactions in your body and thus help you to adjust your attitude.  But the real change comes from your “thinking ahead” to what type of attitude, persona, or perspective you’ll need to adopt.  The coffee is simply a routine to help the behavior be a bit more sticky in your life.

Real change comes from your “thinking ahead” to what type of attitude, persona, or perspective you’ll need as a manager.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Which “coffee flavor” fits with your natural style? Are you more of a Dark Magic Extra Bold, or a Decaf French Roast? What about your employees? If your styles don’t match, you might want to think about trying a different flavor when you interact with them.
  • We act differently around different people: to some extent, that comes naturally. Think back over the past week. What are some times when could have used that extra “boost”? Were there certain situations/individuals that needed less caffeine than others?
  • Choosing different coffee flavors depending on the situation you are facing serves as a concrete (and admit it, fun) reminder that you can’t use the same attitude with every person.  What are some other areas where you could use a similar reminder? Take a few moments to brainstorm for solutions (grounded in concrete, positive actions, like the coffee flavor one) to those personal issues.