You are a leader, even if not officially. People follow your example, learn from you, want to know your opinions and so on. Constantly improving your leadership skills is essential to your success.
Most people have the wrong idea about leadership. For example, car salesman Jim was promoted to the Sales Manager position. During his first week as manager, he decided to show everyone who was boss.
Jim cracked the whip. He held a meeting and told the other sales people, “I want 10 cars sold today or someone will get fired!”
The sales people ran around looking busy and avoiding Jim. Everyone tried to force customers to buy cars, but car sales dropped.
Jim yelled even louder. “You can’t sell cars by pressuring customers, you idiots! Now get out there and sell these stupid cars!”
After a few days of this, his two best sales people quit. Sales dropped even further.
Jim said, “I can’t believe this! What am I doing wrong?”
Five Bad Leadership Attitudes
Like many new managers, Jim had these five wrong ideas:
1. “Because I’m the manager, you better respect me . . . or else!”
2. “People are lazy; I have to force them to work.”
3. “Because I’m the boss, I can do anything I want.”
4. “If you work for me, you need to kiss my butt.”
5. “If you don’t like how I run things, you can leave.”
Because of these attitudes, Jim’s sales people were selling fewer cars and looking for other jobs. If Jim did not change his attitude, he would also be looking for a new job soon.
Just in time, Jim learned this vital fact about management.
A Key to Leadership Success
“I believe that to command is to serve and only gives one the right to serve.” — L. Ron Hubbard
At first Jim said, “What? I’m supposed to serve others? How ridiculous!”
But then he thought it through and a lightbulb above his head flashed on.
“If I SERVE my team by teaching them about sales and cars, they know how to sell better.”
“If I SERVE my team with kindness and courtesy, they will treat customers better!”
“If I’m here to SERVE my team, I don’t force them to make sales, I help them make sales.”
A New Day
The next morning, Jim brought in a box of chocolate doughnuts for the sales staff and said, “Today is a new day! This may be a shock to you, but I’ve realized that I can be a better manager. I want to try helping you instead of yelling at you, okay?”
He then asked, “How can I HELP you each sell a car today?”
His team offered some ideas: “Fill the tanks full of gas so we don’t have to buy gas during test drives.” “Get us more brochures to pass out.” “Offer delicious snacks and drinks to our customers.”
Jim said, “No problem! I’ll get you gas, brochures, snacks and drinks.”
The sales staff was stunned, but happy.
During the day, he helped his people give service to the customers, not pressure.
“She wants to discuss it with her father first?” “That’s probably a good idea. Give her your office to call him.”
“He wants to test drive twelve cars before deciding?” “No problem.”
“They want to show the car to their mechanic.” “Great! Invite him down and give them a tour of our service department, as well.”
Customers felt they were buying luxury cars because of the excellent service. The sales people enjoyed their work. Jim had more fun with less stress. Car sales soared.
Service, Not Slavery
Jim had one small worry, “Will my people take advantage of me or run over me if I’m trying to give them service?”
He soon found this was not a problem when one salesman said, “Jim, I need a few hours off to run some errands for my wife. Can I borrow the demo car?”
Jim said, “No, sorry. But you can take off a few hours after you sell a car today. How can I help you do your job and make some money?”
1. Make a list of everyone you lead in one way or another: customers, staff, coworkers, family members, friends, colleagues, even your boss.
2. Write down one or more ways you can better serve each of these people this week.
3. Provide these services during the week.
4. Observe the results. Watch how people react. Notice how you feel. You might be amazed!
If you persist with an attitude of service, your position improves, your pay increases and you have more fun. Not only are you more successful, so are the people you lead.