It’s guest post Monday! This post is written by Chris Hendrix who is a Senior Sales Trainer that helps managers improve their results through coaching and behaviors of their employees. He also puts out a daily devotional that is designed to encourage Christians to not be defined by their circumstances and to be who God calls them to be. You can read his blog by clicking here and follow him on Twitter.
I’ve heard it said that if you’re leading others, you better look behind you and make sure others are following. Just because you think you’re a leader or have manager in your title it doesn’t mean you’re a leader. Leaders find a way to inspire others to follow them even when the goals seem unrealistic or unattainable. The know how to foster a belief that says, “We can do this.” In my years as a business owner and now as a manager, I’ve found three things every leader needs in order to make sure people follow.
1. Be Honest
One of the first pieces of advice I give any new manager is, “Say what you’re going to do and what you say.” I don’t care what it takes or costs you, if you make a promise, keep it. The first barrier any manager has to overcome is trust. If you’re followers don’t trust you, you’ll be looking back and no one will be behind you. You must set realistic expectations and goals. They must be attainable. When your team is accustomed to attaining goals regularly, you can get them to hit stretch goals because you say it’s possible and lead the way.
2. Be Clear
Goals mean nothing if you can’t clearly articulate them. Tom Landry, the famous coach of the Dallas Cowboys, had a genius idea for football. His concepts were unheard of at the time. He could have started winning sooner if he had known how to articulate his ideas to his team. The best plans and vision mean nothing if you can’t put it in simple terms that any team member can easily understand and know where they fit in. Habakkuk 2:2 tells us to write the vision, make it plane so that those who read it can run with it. Without a clear vision, your followers will perish.
3. Be Human
Being a leader doesn’t mean you are above doing certain jobs. My philosophy has always been that if I was your leader, I should be able to do any job of one of my subordinates. If that’s taking out the trash, I need to be better than that person. If it’s customer service, I need to know what our policies are and be able to communicate them to our customers. If it’s sales, I need to be able to sell and do all the paperwork involved. Don’t be afraid to show your followers that you can do their work and that their job is not beneath who you are. You will find that they will respect you for it and be more open to your coaching.
I know this isn’t everything that a good leader needs to have, but I feel it’s a good starting point. I usually ask leaders to describe for me a leader in their life that inspired them to get better at their craft. I hear a lot of great things that those coaches, managers or mentors did. After they tell me, I tell them to go and do those things. If it worked on you, chances are it will work on others. Great leaders have the same habits, but they put their own personal touches on them.
Question: So what are some other things you’ve seen great leaders do to inspire others to follow?