“You do not lead by hitting people over the head,
that’s assault, not leadership.”
— Dwight D Eisenhower
“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station,
who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under
a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”
— Charles M Schwab
“Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the
self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves,
it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”
— Sam Walton
Having studied business and particularly sales and sale management for over 36 years, I have had the opportunity to see a lot of managers in action in their businesses and sales teams. The auto business has been the vast majority of my experience, although I have studied a vast array of other businesses as well.
Some of the things I have seen are to say it mildly, bizarre. So many managers in the auto business would put down their sales staff, belittle them, punish and provoke them, in fact do the strangest things while expecting and desiring they perform well. To say that strategy is absurd is an understatement. Now, the most interesting thing that I have noticed in that is that this strategy never, ever works for very long. It is such a short term strategy and running a business with that strategy pretty much guarantees eventual failure.
I have seen these managers come and go and come and go. I can pick them out very quickly by what they say when they aren’t paying any attention to what they say. I can almost predict the time they will last before upper management gets it. Some are pretty good at hiding it from upper management, but they always get it sooner or later.
The good news, and the inspiration for today, is to recognize this kind of situation and make a better decision of how to manage people. Here’s some of my best advice from all of my accumulated learning:
1. Think long term when you think about your business. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 years before retirement plans kick in, plan your business as if it will be handed down or sold to the highest bidder. When you think long term, you will adopt long term strategies which are always beneficial to the customer and the company.
2. Focus your business on the customer and customer loyalty. Custom satisfaction is not enough–that is a short term strategy and too easy to do. Focus on loyalty. That is a long term and highly successful strategy.
3. Seek people that fit the mold of your long term, customer-focused strategy. Obtain people of character, that are a good fit with the company.
4. Train your people well and desire them to perform exceptionally with little or no supervision. The atmosphere of control is counter productive. Controlling people is a very short term strategy.
5. Be a team builder.There is nothing so powerful as encouragement and support to help your team come together and do their best. Everything else is team destroying. When I hear a manager complaining about his team, I look at the manager. He or she hired them. If they are not performing it is the manager’s fault in my mind. Make sure you are saying things behind closed doors about your team that is team building.
6. Help your team catch the vision. Everyone, I think wants to be a part of something larger than themselves. Your vision cannot then be to just make money. It must be more. Expand your vision and share it throughout your organization. Develop your “brand” and your company “culture.” They are very important in your long term strategy of company profitability and success.
I could go on with a whole book and may do that again someday soon, but here are some ideas to ponder that will help any organization more successful. Strike that. Not just successful, but AWESOME!
Love Is Always The Best Strategy. That Includes Business–Perhaps Even, Especially Business!
Spread Some Joy Today–If you work under a boss that is similar to the ones pointed out above, have hope and courage to find a better place to exchange your services. You have far more control of your life than you might think–and you are probably far more valuable than you think.