As I’ve reiterated before, while talking with many business owners and dedicated many painstakingly long hours of research and interviews, I’ve found two common issues limit the owner’s success: their attitudes about their lives and businesses, and the energy they expend on their businesses.
My objective is to reveal common denominators which cause business owners to struggle with the way they see and react to the world around them. The title of Wayne Dwyer’s book, “You’ll See It When You Believe It”, speaks volumes and could turn around many lives if its meaning is understood. And I recommend you try to understand the book’s message.
When events in your life create negative feelings or when people with whom you interact with every day leave you frustrated, then it’s time to evaluate your belief system. After all, the world around you is just a reflection of your thinking.
Although the term, ‘people management’ may be inappropriate or the incorrect term, it is a good place to start. As one smart author once wrote: “You manage things; you lead people.” Leading people and inspiring them, instead of trying to manage them, creates a better working environment and inspires them to put all their effort into working for the business. Ultimately, they will respect you as a leader, and you will have earned their respect. During the years, I’ve adopted some meaningful metaphors for feeling frustrated when ‘managing people’.
- Accomplishing anything in one’s life (or business) is like ‘pushing rope’.
- Managing people is like ‘herding cats’.
These metaphors may reflect the way you’ve felt many times, and they also indicate an attempt to manage instead of leading. Pushing people to accomplish tasks, to be more responsible or excel is worse than ‘pushing rope’ since people will push back or resist your attempts to manage them. In either case, pushing people or herding cats are both highly unproductive and won’t get you anywhere.
Like me, I am sure you have struggled with the same unproductive mental cycle — irritation, frustration, anger, and then finally, the realization that the only way to lead your organization is by example.
If you want your sales executive to source more or better clients, then lead by example and show them more efficient ways, and tips and tricks you have learned throughout your career to improve their methods. This is how you can improve your sales efforts as your team will then learn from you teaching them the model for success.
The adage: “do as I tell you, not as I do it” neither leads nor inspires anyone and should be directly avoided. Too many business owners find themselves trapped when they lead from the front when training, but still end up pushing their staff to improve business performance while ignoring it themselves and turning a blind eye. It just doesn’t work — and this has been proven time and time again.
Tweaking your systems, writing manuals, or implementing rewards and punishments systems will never fix your failure to lead from the front. Furthermore, if you’re assigning staff members to take on the responsibility of managing systems or accomplishing tasks you don’t understand yourself, then this is also a similar failure to lead on your part. As the owner of a company, you must master each of the core processes — marketing, sales, finances, and social media — before you hire a new employee or involve a current employee in the management of these processes, regardless of how well those employees may be able to do the job.
Sales is a particularly misunderstood and mismanaged process in most businesses. It is not uncommon for owners to feel that selling is beneath them, while never realizing their most important job as an owner is to sell not only the products and services to the customer, but sell the jobs in their business to the potential members of staff and show them they are a fantastic opportunity that will give them great career progression and develop their maximum potential.
Any business person should understand a key mission of their teaching role is to encourage their members of staff to learn new things and progress within the company. There are few of those staff members who would respect a leader who refused to “sell” their products.