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 and an unwillingness to take on challenges. You want your team to support and respect your decisions but you do not want anyone to become the head of your fan club. Getting too cuddly can suppress independent thought and opposing ideas.
Walk alongside the team, not out in front. We often hear the term “lead out front.” The most successful leaders walk alongside team members providing encouragement, support, and a good role model to follow.
Motivate the team around a common set of values. If the team’s goals are value driven, even if the leader messes up, the group will be propelled forward by the shared values.
Sweat it out with the team. If the company is sponsoring a charity run, be the first one to arrive and pass out the water bottles.
Be humble. If you have just closed the sale of the year, avoid gloating. Instead share your process for closing the sale and brainstorm with your team on how you could have been more effective at overcoming an obstacle you faced during negotiations.
Do not be afraid to ask for advice or take direction. If you are making 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, which builds trust and credibility.
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.
Empower others to be part of the solution. Encourage advisors to develop some creative solutions to help other team members who are challenged by the tough economy.
Make thinking transparent: Post you mind map of sales goals through the end of the year on you door. If everyone understands the thinking behind the process, it is easier to reach goals.
Get your hands dirty: Go out into the community and try out the new sales strategy. Be the first to report with failures and ask for suggestions on how to improve the new sales approach.
And go ahead and lead by example. Spearhead strategies and behaviors that you want your team to incorporate showing that you are a believer.
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.