When you ask how to lead your employees, some people will say, “you’re either a leader or you’re not.”
“Leaders are not born. They’re made.” That’s a quote from Vince Lombardi and it’s very, very true.
Even so, you’ve possibly thought, “I need to be a better leader,” but not known what that means or looks like in real life.
You may even feel like “leadership” is vague.
That’s because no one has broken it down for you in a practical way.
That’s what we’re going to do today.
In reality, leadership is a practiced skill set. Like a yoga practice.
You need to CLAIM your leadership skills.
Here are the 3 steps to doing that…
Step 1 – Self awareness
If you’re feeling frustrated, start here.
When we ask our clients, “What’s going on?”…
…“The employees are doing XYZ,” is the answer we often hear.
But, today, you’re going to end the blame game.
We’re not going to focus on whose perception is correct – yours or the employees.
We’re going to give you the real truth about how to reset the agreement about what is going to happen going forward.
You have to get passed the idea that the employee is actively doing this on purpose. That is so, SO rare.
The real questions you need to ask yourself are….
- “What did I do to cause this?”
- “What am I tolerating from my employees?”
The hard truth is you play a role in these frustrations that are showing up.
It’s time to take 100% responsibility for your role. And that starts with self awareness.
Step 2 – Getting clarity on what the situation needs
Imagine you’re running your company & your salesperson isn’t producing enough results to even cover their wage.
You’ve tried everything that you know to teach them, and manage them, but they still seem stuck to their desk, not making the calls or talking to the right clients.
By this stage, you’re hopefully aware that you’ve been tolerating this.
Now, there are several possibilities on how to correct it.
Finding the correct action plan starts with uncovering the bigger issue underneath the lack of performance from your salesperson.
We call these The 3 Cs:
- Is this a competency issue? Meaning, they don’t have the right skillset to do the job.
- Is this a capacity problem? They’re at their limit & stressed to the max.
- Is this a conditioning problem? Meaning, how have they been conditioned to respond in this environment? They may have a mental block that tells them “I can’t do this.”
If it’s NONE of The 3 Cs, then you know it’s a definite leadership problem.
Asking yourself these 3 Cs will help you see what’s really going on, so you’re not trying to solve a capacity problem by micromanaging your salesperson, for example.
You need to tailor your action plan based on one of The 3 Cs. (We’ll talk about these 3 Cs tomorrow.)
Step 3 – Taking action & raising your leadership to match the problem
This step starts with you addressing the issue as a leader, not as a manager.
Managers want to manage the problem. They PUSH it onto the employee & make it the employee’s problem (which usually leads to a very disgruntled employee).
A manager thinks, “What do I need to do to the employee to get them to do what I want?”
Leaders take responsibility and make it happen. Leaders rise up and say, “What do I need to do to bring out the best in this employee?”
You need to change how you show up as a leader.
Stop telling them what to do. Start showing them.
For example, instead of just telling the salesperson that they should be making more calls or sending more proposals, you need to be giving them examples of how to get it done.
Be a role model for what it means to be a good salesperson. Demonstrate the steps to the sales process, so that they can see another way of doing it.
Then, you need to hold the employee accountable to what they commit to, so that it doesn’t just get forgotten or ignored.
If you’re finding accountability tough, that’s normal. Most of our clients find it tough to change their employees’ behaviours & hold them accountable.
Do you need to think about it differently?
Accountability is NOT a stick to beat them with. It’s more like a compass guiding their actions.
Using accountability as a compass helps change behaviour over the long term, instead of just delivering short-term changes.
It helps you empower people so that they follow through on their own responsibilities.
You are raising them up with a “let’s do this together” mindset.
That changes the conversation from “What are you going to do to double your sales volume?” …
…to, “How can I help you increase your sales volume?”
…or, “How can I support you in reaching your goals?”
The latter empowers them to take responsibility for their role in the problem, the same way that you as the leader need to take responsibility for your role.
Success is never achieved alone.
As your skills grow & you learn to decode the mysteries inside your team, you’ll miraculously discover that your team is performing better… and making your life a hell of a lot easier.