An executive who works alongside team members is rewarded with better performance but chumming up to employees is a fine balancing act. Too much comfort may breed complacency, an unwillingness to take on challenges, suppress independent thought and opposing ideas. You want your team to support and respect your decisions but you don’t want anyone to become the head of your fan club. Here are ten ways to lead your team by example:
1) Walk alongside your team, not out in front
We often hear the term “lead from out front.” The most successful leaders walk alongside team members providing encouragement, support, and a good role model to follow.
2) Motivate your team around a common set of values
Leaders are human and mess up from time to time. Ensure the team’s goals are value driven so that during any blunder, the group will be propelled forward by shared values.
3) Sweat it out with the team
When a big project involves extra hours, work alongside your team and be the first to offer gratitude. Surprise your team by passing out water bottles and healthy snacks.
4) Be humble
Avoid gloating if you have just closed the sale of the year. Instead, share your process for closing the sale. Brainstorm with your team on how you could have been more effective at overcoming an obstacle you faced during negotiations.
5) Do not be afraid to ask for advice or take direction
The next time you make a presentation at a conference, collaborate with your team to identify “best practices” to share and what they consider the most important talking points. Show them your vulnerability and be the student by valuing their contributions; this builds trust and credibility.
6) Empathy, empathy, and more empathy
Your top advisor is falling behind for the second month in a row. Can the motivation speech. Empathize and engage in a meaningful discussion about how the economy is creating challenges for other advisors and work together to find helpful solutions.
7) Empower others to be part of the solution
Encourage advisors to develop creative solutions to help other team members who are facing day-to-day challenges.
8) Make thinking transparent
Post your sales goals mind map in a central location. If everyone understands the thinking behind the process, it is easier to reach goals.
9) Get your hands dirty
Go out into the community and try a new sales strategy. Be the first to report failures and ask for suggestions on how to improve the new sales approach.
Taken together, these steps can engender loyalty and respect in a leader. Walking alongside and collaborating with your team members about what is needed provokes a ‘we’ attitude. Show you trust them, share areas for improvement, applaud successes, and display your confidence in them. These components foster a sense of commitment, making it harder for individuals to abandon their managers and sales goals.
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