What is a great indicator for the success of your company or organization? According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s the ability of your middle managers to inspire the people in their teams. Leadership development and execution, not just by the CEO, but by everybody who leads a team.
The study that triggered the WSJ article, is done by Gallup, on the future of work. “Five years ago, the Gallup organization embarked on one of the most ambitious deep dives it has ever conducted; an analysis of the future of work based on a decade of input from nearly 2 million employees and more than 300,000 business units. The results confirmed something Gallup had seen before: a company’s productivity depends, to a high degree, on the quality of its managers.”
What else did that study show? First of all, it showed that managers didn’t just influence the results their teams achieved. Due to that influence, it even explained 70% of the results. In other words, if you want your company to be full of excellent teams, getting the right manager is 70% of the battle.
Mentorphile commented on the article by the WSJ and the Gallup study. He stated: “What sort of return can businesses expect from doing this? According to Gallup, the top 10% of companies, ranked by engagement, posted profit gains of 26% through the last recession compared with a 14% skid at comparable employers.”
As a result of better leaders, teams perform better
Want to get the leadership of your middle managers to the next level? And consequently allowing your teams to exceed their own expectations and results? We have a program just for that.
“Are your performance evaluations improving your organizational culture? Do you think evaluation systems really engage people, make them feel heard and help them to grow? Because an overwhelming number of companies review their people infrequently, and in a way that is not engaging or effective. Yet, engaging employees is crucial. Especially with today’s multi-generational, technology driven and app savvy workforce.” writes Stuart Levine. Are you improving your results by improving your leadership?
But what are you doing to engage your employees? To inspire them? How are you supporting their professional growth? What effects does that have on the experience of the customer? Above all, if you don’t take care of your employees, they won’t take care of your customers.
Do you need help in setting goals for yourself and company? Or do you want to get out of the subconscious patterns that are keeping you where you currently are? Let’s get in touch. Because we know that you can be a great leader. One who can inspire instead of track and punish.
Learning from ancient emperors to become a better leader
Marcus Aurelius held the most powerful position in the world. The adage that power in absolute absolutely corrupts has been repeated throughout history for a reason. It unfortunately tends to be true. But as the famous historian Edward Gibbon wrote, under Marcus, the last of the ‘Five Good Emperors,’ “the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of wisdom and virtue.” Do you want to become a better leader?
The Daily Stoic writes about the 12 lessons on leadership from Marcus Aurelius. For the entire article, click here. In this post, we focus on 1 essential trait of leadership:
EXPECT TO CHANGE YOUR OPINIONS
93% of the time, we are ‘unconscious’. Which means that we let our auto-pilot take over. It means that we tend to get stuck in our subconscious patterns. When we are conscious, it takes real effort and sweat. Because that’s just how our brains work.
In a meritocracy, which is a culture that works in favor of the best ideas, you sometimes have to change your opinions or ideas about what works best. But if you’re a capable leader, you’ll do that. However, it comes at a cost. Because you’ll have to put your own ego aside.
Are you ready to become a better leader?
“Remember, if there is one core teaching at the heart of this philosophy, it’s that we’re not as smart and as wise as we’d like to think we are. If we ever do want to become wise, it comes from the questioning and from humility—not, as many would like to think, from certainty, mistrust, and arrogance.”
If you’re in sales, you have got a lot of things going on. Following up on leads, calling prospects, managing customer experience. Depending on the size of your organization, you’re also setting meetings, creating proposals, and checking up on delivery. We all know it’s a lot. So what should sales leaders focus on?
Imagine you manage a group of sales executives. You’ve got all of the above ánd checking up on your people to make sure they’re on target. Meetings with the people ‘above’ you, meetings with the people ‘below’ you, and meetings with all other stakeholders.
Because you’re all so busy with the day to day operational side of the job, it’s easy to get stuck in that. You’ll keep on managing dissatisfiers, and you’re focus won’t be providing extra value or differentiating from your competitors.
Aside from the operational dealings, which have to happen, what should you focus on? It doesn’t matter if you’re an account manager, sales executive, or sales manager. We mention 5 resolutions that will enable any forward-thinking sales leader to hit target easier than before.
Have strategic conversations with your clients. Not just tactical conversations.
The world is changing daily. Technological innovations, new legislature, or key economic events. Mike Houghton says: “Understanding your customer’s mindset can help you have a strategic conversation about or guide the conversation towards one focused on business outcomes. In fact, it’s useful to think of yourself as a consultant rather than a salesperson. When you start to think of it [your conversations with the customer] that way, talking about type, brand, feeds and speeds will often be irrelevant.”
Spend time daily developing your skills and mindset.
If you’re not on top of your game, you will lose to one (or several) of your competitors. As a result, it is important that you spend time daily to develop yourself. For instance: Develop your skills. Develop your mindset. Develop your knowledge. If you’re a manager, enable your sales people to develop themselves. Provide training, books, and courses.
Focus on what you do best, not what everybody else is doing.
At Vision Forward, we know what we do best. We enable people and companies to be highly successful. That means we’re narrowing our focus to ensure that our resources are well spent on providing that value to our people, our clients, and their clients.
Help your customer act, not just react. Think proactively.
Mike Houghton states: “Addressing your customer’s desired business outcomes – whether those include reducing costs, increasing efficiency, or improving safety – means that a 30,000-foot approach to their environment.” That’s your only job as a sales person or consultant. So make sure that you enable your clients to reach their goals faster.
Look to the future – not the past.
If your focus on the things that happened in the past, you won’t be able to step forward into the future. It sounds cliché, but that is because it’s true. When you do the things you’ve always done in the past, you will not get different results in the future. It’s that simple. That does mean, however, stepping out of your subconscious patterns. Look out for the innovations that might change your business, or the businesses of your clients, and anticipate. Where are the opportunities? Where do possible risks lie? If you’re providing value to your clients based on what you know and they don’t, you’re one up.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply
Everybody has heard this cliché. It’s not new. But somehow, most people don’t practice the art of active listening – which is listening to understand. To really comprehend. To be emphatically engaged in a conversation, and trying your best to understand the other person’s point of view, and digging deeper if you need to.
The people who do practice the art of active listening, radiate something special. And why? Because they have put aside their ego and are really involved in your story. They have set aside their subconscious, automatic patterns.
These people are the leaders that truly inspire. Or the team members that can bring order in a team that was chaotic before. The sales rep that gets new business deals again and again, because (s)he is actually trying to create win-win situations with clients.
Glenna Fulks gives a practical trick to improve your active listening: “Count to eight before you reciprocate. I have been guilty of hi-jacking a conversation and realizing that I spoke too soon and cut off the other individual’s response. It will seem like an eternity, but be smart and give the person with whom you are communicating the time to acknowledge your comment or statement. It builds respect and credibility. Not only does this expand the opportunities for communication, but you also allow yourself time to hear and take notice of their cerebral nuances.”
Takedowns and clever quips are easy, but empathy and persuasion are better
Ryan Holiday writes about the difference between being right and stating blunt facts to prove your point, and being kind and persuading others to come and share your point of view.
Pushing your opinions, facts, and studies might be ‘true’, but that doesn’t mean that others will accept it, act on it, or even believe you (on a subconscious level). If you work with others, and you’ve pushed your point of view on them, you’ll probably experience the backfire that comes from that.
If you’re in a leadership position, and you push your ideas on others, what happens? How intrinsically motivated will they be to pursue the goals you’ve set together?
If you’re in sales, and you push your ideas on your prospects, will they leave every experience they’ve ever had behind and pursue your vision on their company and results? Chances are slim.
Don’t try to persuade others. It doesn’t work. The best you can do is guide them into new insights that they ‘come up with’ themselves. We can help with that.
Holiday ends his excellent article, which can be read here, with this thought: “If you can’t be kind, if you won’t empathize, then you’re not on the team. That team is Team Humanity, where we are all in this thing together. Where we are all flawed and imperfect. Where we treat other people’s point of view as charitably as we treat our own.”
The term “personal development” is very much a part of today’s lexicon, but have you ever thought about what it really means?
Svetlana Whitener describes personal development “as a transformational journey, and improving your emotional intelligence (EI) can be a major part of that journey. This is because EI develops your self-awareness and gives you the tools to understand your own needs and the needs of others. EI also elevates your self-actualization by allowing you to honor those needs as well as understand them.”
Personal development, according to us, is very much linked to improving your emotional intelligence on the one hand. On the other hand, what new beliefs can you adapt and make your own? What skills do you need to learn in order to achieve what you want to achieve? How can you increase your sphere of influence? With yourself, and with others?
Whitener also states a number of steps she deems necessary in your lifelong journey of personal development:
Be an internal light
We know, of course, that personal development (and professional development) is also predicated on the goal you tie it to. WHY do you want to develop yourself? WHY is it important? What Goal are you trying to achieve? Without a Goal, without that point on the horizon, the ease with which you develop yourself will be much less – all because of the way our brains are wired.
Need to take the next steps in developing yourself, personally or professionally? Need to improve yourself? Your team? Your sales? Your leadership? The way customers perceive you? Let’s get in touch.
People tend to have a natural aversion to those who make it all about themselves. But wait, is that person you?
Inc. states: “Almost every workplace has at least one toxic employee. You know the type — always negative, tends to bully others, distracts much of the team … the “bad apple” that ruins the barrel. But what if someone were to tell you that you were that person?”
What are the signs that you are the “toxic person”? And what effects does that have on your workplace satisfaction? The relationships you have with your colleagues? With your customers and clients? Your prospects?
Try and look as objectively as possible. If you tick the boxes, it’s time to look at how you can change your behavior, as well as influence how people perceive you. And what lies underneath, on a subconscious level, that you behave like you do?
Do you: – Make everything about you? – Say and do passive-aggressive things? – Feel and show jealousy of other’s successes?
You might be the toxic person in your environment. How does that affect your success? Lead yourself to a better place.