Answer the following question as honestly as you can: Would your team rate your leadership as high as you would?
While you’ve been putting heart, soul, sweat, and tears into your business for years, have you been mindful of the team that has stood by your side every step of the way?
Welcome to the Leadership portion of the SCALEit Method®!
YOU PROBABLY HAVE THE WRONG IDEA ABOUT LEADERSHIP
As I’ve said before, leadership is not about barking orders, telling employees how to perform their jobs, or doing the tasks that others are being paid to do. It’s also not about being the person sitting on a throne weighing in on each and every decision.
So, how should great leadership be measured while scaling your business? As mentioned in my last installment, you should always be looking for opportunities to praise employees, acknowledge their ideas, reward them, and provide recognition. At the same time, you need to serve as a coach and mentor and be fair and consistent in your approach.
These are a few good rules of thumb to consider:
- Hold them accountable: If they agree to a deadline, make sure they stick to it. If you delegate and don’t follow up, you are sending the message that you don’t really care.
- Turn mistakes into lessons. If an employee makes a mistake, don’t tear into him—but make sure he fesses up to it and works to repair it. Nobody is perfect and he will never perform exactly the same way you would. If a person gets to 80% of how you would handle it, you’ve got a winner on your team. Those who take responsibility to learn from their errors and do better next time.
- Groom other leaders: If you elevate and train your team to take on increased responsibility and move up the ladder, you will be freed up to do even more innovative things and will have someone to cover for you when you need to be involved elsewhere else.
- Stretch your team outside of their comfort zones: Just as you need to stretch yourself to grow, so does your team. If you want them to help you scale, they must be willing to expand their capabilities. The only way to do this is to request they do things that seem scary or outside their skill sets. Initially, they may push back. Then, if they accept the challenge and go for it, they will experience that over-the-moon sense of accomplishment.
- Admit your own mistakes: A great leader is honest and takes responsibility for his or her shortcomings. Nobody’s perfect and you need to set a good example.
- Offer education: If you support continuing education for your team, you will elevate your employees. Encourage them to attend conferences, take courses, and buy books—so long as they present what they have learned at a team meeting. This way, she is paying attention at the event, getting the full value of it, and inspiring the team with what she shares.
- Embrace conflict: If you sweep conflicts under the rug and don’t address them head on, they will grow like ragweed. By listening intently to a complaint or dealing with a problem sooner rather than later, you can turn an upset person into a raving fan.
- Don’t make excuses: Have you ever taken several weeks to get back to a team member with feedback? Instead of making excuses that the employee doesn’t care about, come clean: “I’m sorry about this, John. I should have gotten to this sooner. Your report is important. I’ll send you my thoughts by Friday. Thank you for being so patient.” Then, guess what? Make sure you write a thoughtful response by Friday!
- Keep your word no matter what: When you say you are going to do something, keep your promise and follow through. Nothing creates distrust faster than flaky behavior. If we make a promise and then realize that we made a mistake—even if we will lose money or a great deal of time—we keep to that promise, regardless. Integrity builds a strong team, trust, and a referral community. Broken promises create a soiled reputation and your employees will apply for jobs elsewhere.
- Protect your team: Always have your employees’ backs, especially if a client or partner mistreats them. If you stand up for them, they will respect your leadership like nobody’s business.
- Be real. Be genuine. Be authentic. Give your employees the opportunity to see you as you really are. If you are honest and transparent with your team, they will work hard and pay you back in dividends.
Now that you know what real leadership is about, take the 12 questions on the Leadership Assessment Score to find out how you rate and the areas you need to work on most.
Remember: being a leader is like life. It is an ever-evolving journey!
Voice for Business Success
Allison Maslan is the CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, The World Leader in Scaling Businesses. Her new book, Scale or Fail is a Wall Street Journal Best Seller that is endorsed by Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19. Now, she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward helping business owners worldwide scale their company while, at the same time, create a passionate life. Allison’s been featured in Success, Fortune, Inc, Fast Company and Forbes magazines is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN across the US. She also hosts her weekly video podcast, Allie & You: The Business Success and Lifestyle Show.