It always amazes me how “leaders” inside the direct selling profession try and dictate team culture instead of influencing it. From company executives to independent consultants in the field, I still come across folks who believe that based on their “rank” they have earned the right to lead, when the reality is, they are just dictatorial managers.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe the majority of these folks are trying to sabotage their success or their team’s growth. I believe that in the majority of cases, people are just following the status quo of traditional business.
So, how do we stop dictating our team culture and start -inspiring it?
- Convey your vision of a winning team. If you want to be seen as more than just a dictator, where people really don’t respect you, then define your aspirations to the team. Share what will be different, and how what you are doing to change is for the success of each team member.
- Walk your talk and demonstrate how new cultural behaviors will advance the team. Nothing solidifies new behaviors faster than seeing success from the chances firsthand. So once you have shared with your team the behavior changes you are making, work with your team and allow them to hold you accountable. Remember this is a team culture, or as Seth Godin states it “A Tribe.”
- Reinforce the new culture by integrating it into your recognition process. People tend to focus on the behaviors that are rewarded. So if you are really wanting to build a new culture, stop focusing on what recognition you are going to receive and focus on providing recognition to your team. Art Williams, the founder of Primerica, once fired one of his top producing field leaders for not demonstrating the cultural behaviors he has laid out to the team. Even though this leader was a top income earn and had a large team, he was not leading for the success of his team, only for himself. Art’s move made it very clear that the success of the team, was far more important to Art, then his personal or this leader’s personal success
If you live by the following five principles, I learned many years ago from “The Leadership Challenge” you should be able to create a Culture of Excellence!
- Challenge The Process – Always be innovating yourself into becoming a better leader.
- Inspire a Shared Vision – You can’t command commitment, you have to inspire it.
- Enable Others to Act – Leaders encourage collaboration by facilitating relationships and building trust.
- Model The Way – Ranks are great, but our behaviors earn us respect and trust. Help others earn their ranks, and you will earn their respect and trust.
- Encourage The Heart – Genuine actions of caring about others; what some people call “paying it forward”, draws like-minded people together.