I never thought of myself as a leader, let alone a great leader. I have always been a “behind” the scenes girl. When attention was drawn to the work that I did, I backed away and gave credit to bosses or those on my team, anyone else but me since I did not like being in the spotlight. When I made the official decision to go into leadership with my Direct Sales company – the thought terrified me. What did I know about being a leader? I didn’t want to let anyone down – my up-line, my team, my family or friends. I have been a “people pleaser” most of my life, a follower and not a leader.
I saw an interesting quote on Direct Selling Education Foundation that said “the more others respect you as a leader, the more successful your business will be.” Here are some basic tips that may help you to be a LEADER:
- Keep your word. This is a basic concept for life. If you give someone your word, it should mean something.
- Be inclusive, welcoming and make others feel safe. If you do not get this kind of support from you company sponsor or director, find someone in the company that makes you feel like this way. I have been blessed with an AMAZING Director Hope Shortt. I tell her that I want to be like her when I grow up. Okay, so I may be a few years older than her but she is a leader that I would follow to the ends of the earth. I want my team to feel like that as well.
- Encourage creative thinking. This was hard for me when I was in the non-profit world, in my early years of being a Program Director. I lacked confidence in myself so it was difficult to encourage creative thinking in my staff. As I grew, so did they and so did my ability to encourage “outside of the box” thinking. I find this a little bit more difficult in direct sales but encourage my team to build their business with a solid foundation of company standards (home parties, etc) and then get creative. Make their business – THEIR business. Stand out from the crowd.
- Allow people to share ideas and concerns. Although my early management style was that of a dictator, I have learned to temper my demands and be open to suggestions. I had a potential recruit come to a team training and share how she felt with my current party style. WOW! In a room full of other consultants, that was a hard pill to swallow but I listened and thanked her for her suggestions. Yes, I have since changed my party style.
- Support others and help them grow. I tell my recruits that when they sign up, they not only get their kit and the company but they get me. I am there to help them in good times and bad. It isn’t just about MY income or MY goals but it is about helping them grow in their business and in their personal lives.
- Keep things running smoothly. This is sometimes tough for me. On the outside, I have it all together but my desk and office is another thing. I know where everything is but am still trying to find the right systems that will help me work smarter, not harder. I am open to suggestions if anyone has any.
- Maintain an exciting and fun atmosphere. This was tough for me when I worked for non-profits. I was insecure and thought that too much fun was a sign of bad management. Over time, I found that it was important to have a place that people enjoyed working in and coming in every day. As a direct sales leader, my team tells me all of the time – You are crazy! I like to make things fun for them, get them excited and that way they share that excitement with their customers and their teams.
- Hold others accountable for their actions. I was a tough boss in the workplace but EVERYONE got treated the same – good or bad. As a direct sales leader, I struggle with holding my team accountable for their actions/ goals. I do try to encourage them and help them along the way but sometimes that isn’t enough. I never want them to feel like I am there for them only because of the money or what their goals mean to my business.
As I have said before, I originally fell into leadership but then I made a conscious decision that I wanted to be a leader. I do a little each week to work on my personal development. I know that if I focus on overcoming my challenges as a leader, I will be able to be a more effective one for my team. What qualities do you think make a good leader?
Have a ThirtyOne -derful day!