Monday, January 21, 2013

Where You Lead, They Will Follow

"If your thinking is sloppy, your business will be sloppy. If you are disorganized, your business will be disorganized. If you are greedy, your employees will be greedy, giving you less and less of themselves and always asking for more."  --- Michael Gerber
In his book, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber explains that most business owners tend to work in their businesses and not on their businesses.  He calls this person the technician, which is needed in a business.  However, the business owner also needs to be three people: the entrepreneur, for creativity, the manager, for running things, and the technician, for doing what must be done.

Even while incorporating all three characteristics, the business leader needs to keep in mind that team members are watching how you handle yourself throughout the day.  By definition, as a leader, you have followers.  These followers will mask or emulate your work habits.  There are at least three key points to keep in mind throughout your workday to let your actions teach your team members:

1.) Know thyself.  Know what your limitations are and be aware of what you can and cannot handle.  For example, if you are not a natural-born organizer, delegate what you can't or are not willing to do.  This allows you to avoid being put in a situation of doing a sloppy or poor job.  It sends the message to your team members that when needed, they should call for help instead of poorly completing a project.

2.) Know how to learn.  Always be on the lookout for new learning opportunities.  Keep a well-stocked library in your office and offer materials to team members when requested or if you believe it will help them in their roles.  Set an example of figuring out how to be the best in your leadership role.

3.) Know when to apologize. One of the most overlooked, yet most simple gestures is to say, "I'm sorry."  Business leaders screw up things too.  It is called being human.  When it happens, continue along that same vein of being human and apologize.  The message this sends speaks volumes to your team.  Most employees will give instant forgiveness and some will begin to realize that they are working with a real person.  

It is difficult enough to keep up with the three roles you are playing without the pressure of many eyes on you.  But, if you do these simple things, you take the pressure off so you can continue leading a team that is proud to follow you.

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