3 Ways Thinking Small Will Improve Employee Engagement

Great entrepreneural companies have a passionate spirit that feels like a gust of warm wind sweeping you off your feet as you walk through their door. It may be a bit hectic, but you want to tighten your shoelaces and run along. I’ve been working with some of these guys on strategy and growth, and it’s an exhilarating journey.

There are challenges of course, but I’m not finding them in the employee engagement arena. Employees are volunteering to help with the enthusiasm of Horshack in Welcome Back Kotter. 

I’ve also seen companies rush to get (or stay) big, and lose their edge. Vision turns into secret plans for the inner circle, lawyers cautioning against transparency, building a diversity “strategy” that translates into babble and ratios, leaders turning to HR for employee engagement, and somewhere along the line, someone deciding it’s time to start “stack ranking” performance.

As you become bigger, never forget the joy and freedom of being small.

3 Ways Thinking Small Will Improve Engagement

“From a small seed, a mighty trunk may grow.” -Aescuylus

1. Be Real, Fun, Involved, and Empowering

An entrepreneurial CEO recently brought me in to help build leadership bench strength. Rather than “train,”  we built a vision, identified priorities and then a business case for a program with a significant spend but a massive ROI.

The CEO stayed out of the room until the team presented their “case” along with theme music and dramatic visuals at the end of the day. His eyes glistened, and his comments were brief, “If this works, this will be gold.” Then he laughed and said. “Hold on, I’ll be right back.”

He then came back with a large, professionally printed version of a previous plan to tackle the same issue that had failed. He said one word. “Execution.”

After his eight word caution, he funded the project.

They executed flawlessly.

A well-mannered, “I believe in you, don’t screw this up,” goes a long way.

2. Keep the Vision Visible

Despite the obvious common sense nature of this statement, I’m always surprised at how rare this is. Sure you’ve got to hold some stuff close to the vest, but if you’re having employees sign “non-disclosures” right and left or are keeping your true strategy confined to a small inner circle, know there are a lot of dots not getting connected and a lot of brains thinking small because they don’t have the perspective to think bigger.

Folks feel the secrecy, which leads to a fast growing feeling of “If you don’t trust me, why should I bother?” Bothered and included leads to brilliance. Share enough information to stir positive, proactive angst.

3. Stay Humble

Small companies have the common sense to know they can’t know it all, and are not afraid to learn, read, and bring in extra support. I’ve only heard, “I really need to get smarter in this arena” from the small guys.

When you think you already know, you don’t learn.

In a fast-changing world, the confident and humble will outsmart and out run “I’ve got this.” Every time.

Be real, open and humble. Think smaller to think bigger.

employee engagementToday’s image is a word cloud based on your awesome comments (and emails) on Friday’s post, defining “employee engagement.” If you missed the chance to add your definition click here 

 

The Real Definition of Employee Engagement

Ever since Gallup revealed their findings that 70% of workers are either disengaged or actively disengaged in their work, “employee engagement” has been all the buzz. Quite frankly, none of this is new, and anyone reading this blog knows that and is working hard to change the game.

Tonight, I started to write a different post (which I’ll save for Monday), but got sidetracked when for grins, I looked up Employee Engagement in the Urban Dictionary, searching for a pithy opener. I was shocked by the search results:

urban-dictionary

employee engagement isn’t defined.

Can you define it?

Game on.

Let’s do this!  Please leave your best definitions in the comment section here, and I’ll upload your responses (or just go for it and upload your own to Urban Dictionary). What an opportunity to tell the truth. Of course consider the medium–you’ll want to be “hip.”

P.S. my son Sebastian (9) reminded me the other day (after I commented on how “hip” he looked) that neither of us would know “hip” if it bit us in the butt… but “the way we looked now, was about as good as it gets.”

With that said, I’m quite sure our hip crowd is up to the challenge.

5 Ways to Strengthen Trust With Weak Ties

I would describe our meeting as a roll of the dice. Perhaps someday we will upgrade our relationship to “weak ties,” but yesterday we were just 2/850 at the Great Ideas Conference chatting through our freebie Hyatt sunglasses over lunchtime brisket and gluten-free potato salad. “Joe,” the CEO (named substituted for anonymity and rhyme), seemed genuinely intrigued by our LGL mission. He works with significant innovators (with a capital I– think people who will invent the next product you must have and will be willing to spend too much for.)

“Karin, what I’d be most interested to hear from you is how you build trust with weak ties. We depend on that. Getting true innovators to connect with and trust one another online and around the globe is a vital ingredient of real progress.”

Game on. I’ve got perspective (as Granovetter’s strength of weak ties theory is arguably my favorite communcation theory of all time), but I’m sure our LGL tribe is up to the challenge. Let’s go help Joe (and others ready to go) make positive change in our world.

5 Ways to Strengthen Trust With Weak Ties

All the components of the Green’s trust equation still apply (credibility + reliability + intimacy/ self orientation)

1. Share expertise (Credibility)

Share your good stuff. Showing up with real expertise will attract other curious and innovative souls. The more people are talking about your ideas, the higher the probability of being introduced to other experts with complementary or challenging views.

2. Respect Others Consistently (Reliability)

I’m always amazed at the stupidity of those who check out credentials before helping. Or treat folks differently based on letters behind their name or klout scores. Discriminatory respect ignores the strength of weak ties theory. Treat everyone with deep respect and you’ll be known as the “really great guy (or gal)” others “just have to meet.” The brother of the intern you met in the forum may turn out to be just who you need on your next project.

3. Do What You Say (Reliability)

It’s certainly easier to blow off a commitment to a weak tie than a colleague. You don’t have to help everyone, but if you say you will, do.

4. Be Real (Intimacy)

Don’t be a snob or tell us how wonderful you are, just show us through your ideas and engagement. Share a bit about yourself as a person. Be honest about where you’re stuck. Whether you’re around the world or sitting in the cube next door, human beings want to work with other human beings.

5. Give generously without expectation (Self-Orientation)

If you’re just out for yourself, people will smell it and tell their weak ties. Social media makes it easy folks, to warn the world. In my own collaborations, I’m consistently being warned of when to steer clear. “Trust checks” are often only a DM (Twitter Direct Message) away. (See also:  7 Reasons Collaboration Breaks Down.)

People trust people who know what they’re doing, who show up consistently with a generous heart. Be that guy, and your weak ties will quickly tighten into trusted bonds of true collaboration.

Other LGL Fun

Karin Hurt, CEO

I’ve had some fun with media interviews this week. A Fortune article on the hottest job trends, and Blogging and Marketing Tips by Experts on FirstSiteGuide and a round-up of most vital leaderhip characteristics. Tip: Blogging is a great way to give generously. Check out Matt Banner’s updated guide to starting a blog here.

A 3 Step Process to Increase Your Confidence

“Oh the minute they made the announcement, I knew she’d be down on the field,” my husband told my parents over wine and brie. My parents both just smiled. As wacky as it sounded, they weren’t shocked either. In hindsight it was an audacious move, but I’d always wanted to sing the National Anthem over the microphone in a big stadium.

So when the master of ceremonies at my son Sebastian’s jujitsu tournament announced that their singer had bailed and they were looking for a volunteer, I raced down from the stands climbed up on the podium and grabbed the mic.

I sang. It wasn’t perfect, but I’ll never forget the sound of my high G reverberating through the stands, or the look of astonishment on Sebastian’s face.

“You’ve always been like that,” my mom shared. “I’m not sure where all that confidence comes from.”

As I’ve been helping others build their confidence, I keep coming back to that question. Just where does confidence come from? How do we best help feel more confident to give their dreams a go?

I’ve gone back and dissected a number of my other more ballsy moves. Here’s what they have in common.

A Simple Process To Increase Your Confidence

Have a Clear Vision of What You Want

Now, of course, I hadn’t been walking into every stadium hoping for my big break. But, singing the National Anthem was clearly on my bucket list. And each time the Orioles would broadcast a call for audition tapes, I’d always start practicing when I was in the car alone, knowing that someday, I’d send one in.

If you know what you really want, your heart will be ready to go before your rational mind starts chattering about why you should stop.

Guarantee Yourself it Won’t Be Perfect

I’m always humbled when I go back and read some of my earliest blog posts. I would never publish them today, and in fact have even considered taking them down. But I realize that doing so would be a huge disservice to anyone else working to build a platform. You become a better writer by writing, better leader by leading, better singer by singing, better lover by loving. There’s not much that doesn’t get exponentially better with practice. Starting messy is vital. If you wait until you’re perfect, you’ll get passed by the courageous fools out there practicing in the real world.

Change “Which Means” to “And So”

It’s easy to lose confidence when we’re a rookie. Change, “I came in last in the race WHICH MEANS I’m not very athletic,” to “I came in last in the race AND SO I’d better start running a bit more hills to increase my endurance.”

OR

“I didn’t get the job WHICH MEANS I’m never going to make it in this field” to “I didn’t get the job AND SO I’d better double the number of applications I do each week.”

Confidence begets confidence. We become better human beings by being human. We get better at doing by doing.

Know what you want, give it a try, and ask yourself “and so” after each setback.

In Other LGL News

audvisor karin hurtSpeaking of overly confident first steps that worked out just fine: I laugh now at the audacity I had to send Seth Godin (whom I’d never met) my first blog post (as you heard above, it was terrible). He was gracious enough to write back with encouragement. As I’ve kept working on my craft, I’ve had some nice opportunities to interact with him (same wonderful encouragement). Now we’re both involved in this exciting new launch. Pandora for leadership thinkers. I’d love for you to check it out and see what you think.

Why Can’t I Fix Him?

My heart sunk as I heard all Kathy had done attempting to fix the scene. Actually, despite the reason for her call, the “scene” was progressing remarkably. They’d come so far in such a short time: a clear vision for 2015; a strong action plan on the biggest rock; a shared leadership model for execution; and Kathy had stepped up to lead her peers in coordinating the action plan. When they presented the plan to the CEO he remarked that the plan was “gold,” all they need now was execution.

She had tasted the beautiful, supported cocktail of pressure coupled with opportunity, and was ready to change the game.

But the call wasn’t about all that. It was about her stuckness.

“Everyone’s on board. But one of my peers hates it.”

She went through everything she had tried to get him engaged.

Connection. Listening. Disclosure. Listening. Questions. Vulnerability. Inclusion. Sharing Credit.

Nothing worked.

Her conclusion.

“This means I’m failing as a leader.”

EDITORIAL TIMEOUT: How many times have you drawn that same conclusion? P.S. Yes, start with humility and do everything you can. But sometimes, it’s not about you. Ironically, being sure it’s about you, is not humility.

Careful to be sure I hadn’t missed anything, I asked her to repeat exactly what she’d said. This time she added, “I know I’m not always like this, but I this time, I’m sure. I was really nice. I promise.”

EDITORIAL TIMEOUT: This could be part of the issue. Folks have memory of our past behavior, even as we’re looking to grow. 

She shared the connection she’d made with others. The engagement. The helping people get past “I’m not sure.”

She was nailing it.

EDITORIAL TIMEOUT: Yikes, maybe I was failing. I was out of provocative questions, and even worse, advice.

And then I went where I usually don’t.

“Can you succeed without him?”

“Yes,” she replied, “But it won’t be as much fun.”

That’s the spirit. She had the big picture.

“I understand. Does the business need this? Is everyone else all in? ”

Reinforcing the obvious.

“Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Sadly, my best advice, “Do everything you can to keep trying. Stay confident in your vision, humble in your approach. But at the end of the day. Keep moving the project forward.”

“Oh yeah, and be sure your boss is in the loop.”

Why Can't I Fix Him?

My heart sunk as I heard all Kathy had done attempting to fix the scene. Actually, despite the reason for her call, the “scene” was progressing remarkably. They’d come so far in such a short time: a clear vision for 2015; a strong action plan on the biggest rock; a shared leadership model for execution; and Kathy had stepped up to lead her peers in coordinating the action plan. When they presented the plan to the CEO he remarked that the plan was “gold,” all they need now was execution.

She had tasted the beautiful, supported cocktail of pressure coupled with opportunity, and was ready to change the game.

But the call wasn’t about all that. It was about her stuckness.

“Everyone’s on board. But one of my peers hates it.”

She went through everything she had tried to get him engaged.

Connection. Listening. Disclosure. Listening. Questions. Vulnerability. Inclusion. Sharing Credit.

Nothing worked.

Her conclusion.

“This means I’m failing as a leader.”

EDITORIAL TIMEOUT: How many times have you drawn that same conclusion? P.S. Yes, start with humility and do everything you can. But sometimes, it’s not about you. Ironically, being sure it’s about you, is not humility.

Careful to be sure I hadn’t missed anything, I asked her to repeat exactly what she’d said. This time she added, “I know I’m not always like this, but I this time, I’m sure. I was really nice. I promise.”

EDITORIAL TIMEOUT: This could be part of the issue. Folks have memory of our past behavior, even as we’re looking to grow. 

She shared the connection she’d made with others. The engagement. The helping people get past “I’m not sure.”

She was nailing it.

EDITORIAL TIMEOUT: Yikes, maybe I was failing. I was out of provocative questions, and even worse, advice.

And then I went where I usually don’t.

“Can you succeed without him?”

“Yes,” she replied, “But it won’t be as much fun.”

That’s the spirit. She had the big picture.

“I understand. Does the business need this? Is everyone else all in? ”

Reinforcing the obvious.

“Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Sadly, my best advice, “Do everything you can to keep trying. Stay confident in your vision, humble in your approach. But at the end of the day. Keep moving the project forward.”

“Oh yeah, and be sure your boss is in the loop.”

Situational Confident Humility: A Self Assessment #confidenthumility

A participant in one of my sessions took me aside and said:

I totally agree with your concept. It’s the execution that’s hard. When I’m truly confident that my team can win, I’m able to calmly step back and humbly listen to their ideas. I know that sweet spot you’re talking about where the real magic happens. But it’s when I need that magic most, when my boss is breathing down my back, or I actually don’t know what to do, that I start acting like a jerk and barking orders. Intellectually, it makes no sense. I know that behavior sets me back, but I keep getting stuck in the same patterns.

Confident humility is not a fixed state. Most of us are either more confident or more humble in certain situations. In order to help you think through this, I’ve created a confident humility self assessment based on a frequency scale. Take a look and see how often you do these behaviors–and which circumstances inspire or hinder your ability to be the leader you strive to be.

leading with confident humility assessment (click here to download PDF).

Situational Confident Humility

Confidence

In what scenes do you…

  • Bring significant subject matter expertise to the team?
  • Take a stand when needed?
  • Ask tough questions that make people think?

Humility

In what scenes do you…

  • Recognize your vulnerabilities and knowledge gaps?
  • Admit mistakes?
  • Feel more concerned about business results than who gets the credit?

Vision

In what scenes do you …

  • Help your team imagine possibilities they may have not considered?
  • Uncover potential?
  • Make a lasting impact?

Connection

In what scenes do you…

  • Invest deeply to get to know the business?
  • Take time to get to know leaders as people?
  • Listen carefully?

Ah, and as a bonus… my favorite tweet of the week.

I like that… beats the hell out of

Professor Lupin on Facing Your Fears #confidenthumility

Our biggest leadership screw-ups are fear in disguise. Fears have a powerful and dangerous habit of shape shifting into a monster that stands in our way, blocking the behaviors we most need for success.

Mike’s arrogant approach and intimidating demeanor is covering up his biggest fear–that the team will discover he’s not really an expert. The team talks about him constantly–about his horrible leadership–and avoids interaction. His fear wins.

John doesn’t start the blog he’s always wanted to write for fear of being irrelevant. His fear wins.

Rachel doesn’t share her best practices with her peers, because she wants to be the best and get promoted. She doesn’t get promoted because she’s not a team player. Her fear wins.

When we pretend we’re not afraid, fear wins.

By denying what scares us, our worst characteristics emerge bigger than the demons we fear.

But if we can NAME our fear, and see it for what it truly is–a ridiculous exaggeration of the worse case scenario–we stop the cycle.

We show up stronger, and have the strength to lead from a place of bigger confidence.

No one teaches this better than J.K. Rowling’s Professor Lupin.

Name your fear. Visualize it. Face it. And discover what makes it ridiculous.

I agree with Seth, “the worst trolls are in your head.” Give them a name. Laugh at them. And lead well.

Leadership Pros Contribute Thoughts about Humility: A Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. Our February Festival is all about humility. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Festival is all about inspiring breakthrough results. New contributors welcome.

Humility: We’re all shaped by it

“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” – Confucius

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding reminds us that great struggles humble us, and make us stronger, softer and wiser leaders.  Read cautiously, this post may inspire you to wish for a big struggle!   Follow Chery.

Matt McWilliams of MattMcWilliams.com helps us with How to Avoid the Three Most Common Downfalls of Leaders (hint: one is ego)  Follow Matt.

Jeff Miller of the Faithful Pacesetters asks, “How Does Humility Equal Confidence?” Follow Jeff. 

Yes it is true that Solomon was gifted with great wisdom. But his greatest leadership asset was his humility, according to Bernie Nagle of Altrupreneur. Follow Bernie.

Michelle Pallas of Michelle Pallas, Inc. offers, “When people in my network reached out to support me during an important meeting it was acts of caring. If not for a snow storm that forced a travel delay and time for reflection, I would have missed being grateful. It’s an emotion that keeps me humble and yet without deliberate thought it is easily squeezed out.” Follow Michelle.

Skip Pritchard of Leadership Insights gives us humble leadership  lessons with Pope Francis as a model. Follow Skip.

LaRae Quy of Mental Toughness Center shares about a time when she realized she would be moving from knowing everything about her job, to a new situation where she knew absolutely nothing. It was tempting to feel humiliated, yet she instead felt humbled. Follow LaRae.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center shares how Alfred was deeply humbled by a wake up call and radically turned his life around. (Spoiler alert – this is a true story). Follow Jesse Lyn.

 

Humility: We all benefit from it

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself less.” – Rick Warren

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited reminds us to forget what we give, remember what we receive. Gratefulness leads to humility.Follow Beth.

Wally Bock of Three-Star Leadership tells us that humility is a virtue everyone praises, but getting it right is hard. Many of us face the same challenge as Ben Franklin. Follow Wally.

Tom Eakin of Boom Life  points out that parent-leaders who want to help their children solve their own problems often give advice. But giving the answers, surprisingly, doesn’t help change the behavior that caused the problems. That’s where influencing with humility comes in. Follow Tom.

Bruce Harpham of Project Management Hacks shares three ways your humility improves your effectiveness at work. Follow Bruce. 

Barbara Kimmel of Trust Across America shares 20 simple ways to be trustworthy. Guess what one is? “Be Humble.” Follow Barbara.

Lisa Kohn of Thoughtful Leaders  shares how a great leader is someone who can admit when they are wrong, and be gracious and humble when they are right. Follow Lisa.

One thing we want in life is respect. We want to feel valued and listened to. Humility is one of four practices to earn and keep the respect of your peers. Thanks, Jon Mertz of Thin Difference. Follow Jon.

Don’t you just love a big slice of humble pie? Leadership Coach Julie Pierce of Empowered by Pierce shares her passion for pie and humble leadership. Follow Julie.

Alli Polin of Break the Frame  suggests that we learn to use our humility to solicit and be open to insights and ideas from across the organization. Together, not alone, we can create and do great things.  Follow Alli.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context reminds us that leading now is not as much about leaders as it is about bringing out the best in those they lead and serve. Follow Linda.

Call for Submissions. The March Frontline Festival is about inspiring breakthrough results. Please send your submissions no later than March 13th. New participants welcome. Click here to join in!

If you haven’t seem my confident humility infographic, click here. to view and share.

 

The Powerful Side Effect of High Standards

My friend, Regina, says that she considers a kid’s book report a win if only one person ends up crying. I remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth I put my parents through in the early years. And last night was one of those nights at the Hurt household. My husband, a firefighter, was on an overnight shift, so it was just me, Sebastian, a bucket of Swedish Fish and the promise of a very long night.

I imagine most parents are familiar with the “I didn’t start early enough, and now we need to go to the Walgreens for supplies, stay up half the night and get up early in the a.m., finish just in time to get to school with wet hair and no breakfast kind of loving feeling.”

What makes these nights so hard is that the parent holds the standards.

“Nope, that’s not what the rubric says. We have to follow the guidelines or you’ll lose points.”

“I know it’s late, but your handwriting is getting really sloppy. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to re-write that part.”

Cue the tears.

“Okay, you’ve done all the basics, now how are we going to make this really stand out?”

“But Mom…”

It be much easier to just get through the basics. After all, it’s JUST a book report.

The Powerful Side Effect

And then there’s the side effect. On the ride to school this morning, Sebastian was glowing. “I think this is the best report I’ve ever done.” “I’m sure this is going to be the very best one.” “I can’t imagine I won’t get an A.” “I can’t wait to show my teacher.” And my personal favorite, “Mom, you know you did a really good job too.” 😉

Pride. Confidence. Energy.

Too often I see managers back off their standards, letting their team just get by. After all it’s only a ______.

That’s not leadership.

Tough standards, gentle inspiration.

When you’re tempted to buy into “This is impossible,” consider the side effect.

See also The Power of Great Expectations

7 Ways to Outsmart the Competition: The Series

This is the final post in the series of 7 ways to outsmart the competition. Links below. I’m considering turning this into a keynote. What do you think?

1. Get there early

2. Be an explainer

3. Pay attention to your own game.

4. Help your team get smarter

5. Be easy to follow

6.Ignore them 

7. And today’s: Hold a higher standard

 

Why Competitors Will Make You Question Everything

In business school we teach SWOT analysis. Know what your competitors are doing so you can outsmart them.

There’s power in benchmarking, and many a company has met their demise by a sudden competitive surprise.

But any time your energy is focused on what OTHER people are doing instead of honing your craft, you’re at risk. Watching your competition puts you in the passenger seat of their story, instead of blazing your own trail.

When I was a competitive swimmer growing up, I had a terrible habit of looking for my competitors in the lanes beside me every time I turned my head to take a breath. Out of complete frustration, my coach threatened to move me to the lane next to the wall if I didn’t stop. From that lane, I wouldn’t be able to see any of my key competition, and it wasn’t exactly considered the rock star lane–I told you, I don’t have this humility thing licked. I stopped looking. You guessed it, that streamlined movement was just what I needed to move from second to first in many of my races.

I was reminded of this phenomena this week. Mike (not his real name), a consulting client, was going for an important promotion. He’d spent weeks honing his strategy and materials. He’d identified all the right stories to share, and had nailed the first interview. He’d gotten great feedback and was preparing for round two when he discovered another smart and popular guy had just put his hat in the ring. Confidence level went down five notches and panic set in. Naturally, he began rethinking his strategy.

When you’ve been preparing for weeks, the day before is not the time to rethink your plan, particularly from an unsettled frame of mind.

A few hours later I got this email:

“…I am going to take sage advice from the Disney movie my daughters watch, Ice Princess. “Put in ear plugs about your competitors. If they do well it will shake your confidence and if they do poorly it will make you cocky.”

Amen.

Play your own game the best you can. Leave it all on the field. Stop worrying about everyone else.

How to Outsmart The Competition

This is part 6 of a 7 part series on outsmarting the competition. In case you’re just catching up.

1. Get there early

2. Be an explainer

3. Pay attention to your own game.

4. Help your team get smarter

5. Be easy to follow

10 Ways to Be Easy to Follow

Are you easy to follow? Before you say “Of course!” please know that every where I go these days, I ask this question. “Is your boss easy to follow?” The #1 response is just a belly ache laugh. The #2 usually contains some expletive. I’ve also heard some great metaphors, like how understanding what their boss thinks is like putting together Ikea furniture. It looks easy when you leave the store (meeting), but when you get back there a lot more screws than you need and the directions are in another language.

Most leaders make following harder than necessary.

10 Ways to Be a Leader Who’s Easy to Follow

1. Be crystal clear

Be sure your team knows the number one mission so well they can say it in their sleep. Sure you’ve got competing goals, but be crystal clear on how your team can change the game, and what you need them to do to make that happen. I recently ran into a guy who once worked on my sales team at Verizon Wireless. He was now working at a small company where I was consulting. He heard I was there, so he walked into a leadership program I was doing to say “Hi.”  We had just finished talking about being crystal clear, so I took a chance. “Eric, back when we worked together, what was the most import goal?” He didn’t miss a beat. “Winning in the SMB space. Everyone needs to get ‘All Aboard’ (which meant every one needed to sell at least five lines a month)” 6 years and another company later, he remembered.

Be that clear and you will be successful.

2. Be approachable

You want them to understand what needs to be done. If they don’t, they’ll spend a lot of time guessing. Be über approachable.

3. Be a teacher

Get in there and show them what to do. You’ll be seen as credible and helpful. Don’t do it for them. Be a teacher.

4. Be forgiving

People want to follow human beings who understand they’re human too. Be forgiving.

5. Be human

Show a little vulnerability. Be clear you don’t have all the answers. People find it easy to emulate people, not rock stars.

6. Be knowledgable

For goodness sake, know what you’re doing. And if you don’t, do everything you can to get smarter on the subject matter quickly. It’s hard to follow a bozo.

7. Be connected

The easiest to follow leaders are those who remove roadblocks by phoning a friend. Have lots of genuine connections to call when your team is need.

8. Be trustworthy

Do what you say. Every time.

9. Be a role model

10. ?

Number 10 is up to you. What would you add?

If you haven’t done this recently ask your team. “What could I do to be easier to follow?” And then be open when she tells about the “damn spreadsheet” that’s making them crazy, or the meetings that suck the life out of them.

Great leaders are easy to follow. Be that guy or gal.

P.S. I’m here to help. Please call 443-750-1249 for a free consultation on how we can make this your team’s best year ever.

This is number five in the series on 7 Ways to Beat the Competition. If you’re just tuning in…

1. Get there early

2. Be an explainer

3. Pay attention to your own game.

4. Help your team get smarter