StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Young Business Owners: Gain Respect From Older Employees

When you’re working with a team of people who are older than you, it can be difficult to get them to take you seriously. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are or how much experience you’ve gained in a short amount of time; an older generation will always believe that life experience is more valuable. It’s a tough situation to be in, but you won’t be able to achieve your goals if your team can’t view you as their boss. The fact that youth doesn’t necessarily equal inexperience is something your employees will need to learn. Here’s how you can prove it to them.

Show Your Knowledge

There’s no point walking into a room full of older people with plenty of knowledge and only knowing bits and pieces. You need to demonstrate that your knowledge of the industry is second to none. Make sure you’re doing thorough research and staying abreast of innovative ideas. Subscribe to reading material with the latest trends and make connections with people of influence. Most importantly, focus on doing your job well, instead of showing off. If you’re dedicated to your job and willing to go above and beyond, you’ll gain more respect than if you were to spend your time competing against employees.

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Lead by Example

There’s no doubt that every business owner has to be a leader. If you’re managing a team of employees who are older than you, you need to be the best leader you can be. Perhaps you could benefit on a leadership MBA online to brush up on your skills.  When you want to set a good example, you have to be the first one to arrive at the office and the last one to leave. You have to do your fair share of work, but you also have to have others on your mind. The point of being a leader is guiding people in achieving their goals.

Allow Suggestions

No matter what your age is, no-one likes a boss who thinks they’re better than everyone else. If you’re working with a team of older people, you’re in a prime position to gather valuable advice. Don’t get so preoccupied with proving yourself, that you forget to take advantage of the expertise of your team. No-one knows it all, and trying to demonstrate that you do just because you’re young is a fool’s errand. If you want to be taken seriously, learn to listen. People are far more likely to want to work with you if their suggestions are used.

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Be Determined

One of the barriers to working with an older generation is that they may be used to using different methods in their work. As a young boss, you may have more insight into how to move the business forward. You’ll have a fresh perspective that some of your workers may not agree with. This is when you’ll need to put your foot down and demonstrate the benefits of your ideas and overrule anyone who disagrees with you. However, if there are instances when your ideas prove to be wrong, it’s important that you admit your mistake instead of making excuses. Your staff will respect you more, even if you feel embarrassed.

Stay Calm

There are many times when business doesn’t go to plan. You’ll be faced with difficult decisions and stressful times. You may be under a lot of pressure, but it’s important you remain calm and don’t let the pressure effect your mood or your relationships. As a boss, your staff will be judging you on your behaviour during the most testing times. So, show them you can handle stress as well as they can and you can come up with solutions when they’re needed. Your calm attitude will reassure them in times of high stress.

Dress Appropriately

If your staff members are turning up to work in a suit and tie, well-groomed and ready for anything, and you’re turning up in a t-shirt and jeans, you’ll inadvertently be making the gap between you and your staff even larger. If the older members of your team are putting a huge effort into the way they present themselves, you need to do the same. You won’t necessarily have to wear a suit every day, but it’s important you show up looking smart. You can also try introducing a more relaxed dress code for work so you and your team meet somewhere in the middle.

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article

Your Business Persona

The way you behave in work may be very different to the way you are outside of work. As a boss to older people, you may not have the luxury of being their best friends. You need to present yourself in the way you want people to see you. So, if you want to be respected leader, you need to act like one. Ask yourself how you want to be viewed in your job role and create a business persona accordingly. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with your natural personality. If you have to act your way through to getting the respect you desire, don’t be afraid to do it.

Expectations

Lastly, start off your new team with an open mind. It isn’t safe to make assumptions because you may have one older person on the team who is determined to find fault in your leadership and one older person who’s determined to help you reach your goals. It’s important that your employees know what you expect of them and you listen to them when they tell you what they expect of a good leader. Always keep the lines of communication open and never forget how much an older person can bring to a team.

At the end of it all, the best way to show your team, no matter what age they are, is to achieve your desired results. It’s only when the business reaches desired outcomes that your employees will see the benefit of working hard and working together. So, as a leader, be patient and let your work speak for itself.

Leading Your Team One Step At A Time

If you want to get far in business, one of the primary factors that you can’t afford to ignore is ensuring that your management team are as professional as possible. They are among your most important staff members, and it is vital that you hire people you think will succeed in leading your team in however they need to be led. Of course, there are always certain characteristics which you will need to look out for if you want your team to be led well, and it is worth looking into what those are. Let’s have a look at some of the more important qualities now, so that you can help to lead your teams as well as possible.

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Confidence To Lead

People will generally have a much easier time following someone if they appear to have the confidence to lead. This is something that you can’t really overlook when you are thinking of who should lead your teams. You probably don’t want to put in charge someone who is unable to display confidence in front of groups of people. However, it is also true that sometimes less confident people have better ideas. It seems fair to try and draw a balance, and not to immediately dismiss those who might not be strongly confident in comparison to others. Confidence, after all, is something which can be learned, and it is good to give people the chance to prove themselves. Sometimes, you find real gems this way, and it favors your business massively in the long run.

Cool Head In Emergencies

Being prepared for the worst is a good idea in business generally and in leaders in particular. No matter what happens, you need to be able to know that your management team will be able to properly deal with it. It is therefore a good idea to choose managers who appear to have a cool head, and who would continue to do so in an emergency situation. There are all kinds of emergencies which can crop up in business, and preparing for as many of them as possible always puts you in a good stead. You’ll find that your managers are more adept at remaining calm particularly if you have a number of good emergency procedures in place – get business insurance online, have a risk assessment done, coincide with all safety laws. This all helps, and your management will probably appreciate it.

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Easygoing Communication

The ability to communicate well with others is always going to be paramount for your management staff. When you can communicate strongly, it means that you are more likely to get things done properly and on time, and it also means that relationships in the working culture can be developed much more easily and fluently. Make sure your managers are all the kind of people that other can talk to easily – this really does make a world of difference when it comes to getting things done on a daily basis, and creating a positive working culture.

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article

Want To Be A Great Team Leader? Look On The Bright Side

Some entrepreneurs are great at managing their money or developing new deals with clients. But sometimes, they lack skills in the leadership department, mainly because they’ve not had time to practice them elsewhere in their lives. Some people believe that you’ve either got leadership skills or you haven’t. But, as it turns out, there are plenty of ways to improve your leadership skills that don’t require you to totally change your character. Here’s how.

Be An Optimist

It’s hard being a great leader while believing that the world is getting worse. It kind of takes a bit of the joy out of running a team of people and striving for a better life in the future. As a result, great leaders tend to be optimists in general, and this helps to keep their staff upbeat and on track. Positive thinking tends to go hand-in-glove with higher team output and individual productivity.

Get To Know The People Working For You

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With the rise of internet working, it’s becoming more and more difficult for managers to get the know the people who work for them. But just because a lot of your interactions are digital, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Even if you’re just employing contractors on a temporary basis, ask them how their lives are going, whether they’re enjoying their work and what they want to achieve in the future. All these questions can help bring a team together even if they seem unimportant at the time.

Get Excited About Going To Work

In every job, there’s something worth getting excited about. That’s because all jobs are fundamentally about serving other people and helping to meet their needs. Even if your business does something mundane, like clean out septic tanks, it’s still possible to get enthused about what you do. After all, who wants a malfunctioning septic tank? It’s funny: the longer you work at something, the more passionate you tend to become about it. The best way to really get into a management role is to embrace it and make it an important part of your life.

Update Your Skills

The science of management has come along a long way since you last went to school and a lot has been learned. As a result, it might be a good idea to head back to school temporarily to update your skills. Thanks to things like FPU online degrees, there’s no longer any need to go to a physical college or school to learn more about the craft. It can now all be done over the internet meaning that you can organize your training around your day job.

Find A Mentor

Leading a team is never easy or a process because people are complex creatures. As a result, it can sometimes help to get a mentor to help you through the harder times – and there will be tougher times. Mentors are great for giving advice and well as sharing stories about the leadership trials they faced and how they got through them.

How a Sales Manager Can Think Like a Leader

Almost every sales manager was, at one point in their career, a peak-performing sales professional, top dog on the team. When promoted, everything changed—except, perhaps, them.

This presents a problem because managing and leading a sales team requires a completely different mindset from selling. Yet what sales managers have to rely on are the instincts and competencies they developed when they were selling.

That’s why, above and beyond any specific techniques they learn, every sales manager needs to re-frame their thinking around leadership mindsets so their decisions will be driven by what’s good for the team not what’s good from a salesperson’s perspective. Here are some examples of what that means.

War #1: Player vs. Observer

Every great salesperson I’ve known wanted to be in on the action, down on the field, making the plays. That strong drive is what made them great and brought them stellar results.

But sales managers are not put in the job to keep selling. They are put into the job so they can help others become the best salespeople they can be. Great sales managers see themselves as observers and coaches, not players.

This switch is perhaps the hardest of all. But it’s only by observing that a sales manager can properly evaluate what the problem is and offer suggestions to a rep that will lead to lasting improvements.

War #2: Results vs. Inputs

Sales is a results-oriented profession. Every month you and your salespeople get judged and paid on sales results. So a company culture that is focused on results is healthy and necessary.

The irony for sales managers is that a constant push to reach a sales number can keep them and their teams so focused on end goals that they miss opportunities to identify problems with skills and processes and improve future results.

To do the latter, they have to focus on the inputs that produce sales process results, such as:

  • How well reps identify customer needs and prioritizing the customer’s solution criteria
  • How well reps understand and can explain your solution’s competitive advantages and weaknesses
  • Whether reps can shape a proposal or presentation that presents the best possible case to the customer

War #3: Tasks vs. People

Effective salespeople have high energy. They like to do stuff, they like to complete tasks. It’s what contributed to their success as salespeople. “Getting things done” sounds like a good attribute for a manager too, doesn’t it?

Not so fast. A sales manager who is overly task oriented can spend too much time making sure mundane To Dos get done while ignoring the development needs of their salespeople.

Sales management is a contact sport. It’s about the relationships you develop with your sales reps. So instead of focusing only on completing tasks, focus on your people. That means filling your time with coaching and helping your reps create their personal development plans. It means figuring out what motivates and demotivates each of your reps.

Developing Your Leadership Mindsets

How many of these instinct wars did you identify with? I’ve met very few sales managers who had problems with all of them, but have also met almost no one who has none of these issues. As the classic cartoon character Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” So the secret is finding out which sales instincts pose the biggest problem for you and developing a better leadership mindset.


About the Author

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness: Ten Essential Strategies for Leading Your Team to the Top (Greenleaf Book Group, March 2017). Kevin is President of TopLine Leadership, Inc., a leading sales and sales management training company.

Better Productivity: When Lethal Work Drives People Berserk

In a world which demands more and more of us on both a personal and a business-based level, it’s no wonder that stress levels are so high and health issues are arising in numbers we’ve never encountered before. The problem is that we try to function into a mechanical and robotic way within business, but the machinery on which we depend is very much alive and very much human.

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Mental health care is important. That’s something we forget all too easily, and your company might be suffering because of it. Neglecting your employees is a certified way to decrease your organisation’s level of productivity, even if you don’t realise the potential for increased efficiency. Your business can be productive, but it depends on your workers being viewed as more than cogs in the system. Here’s some advice on ensuring your employees feel a little less overwhelmed by their workload and actually end up working more productively.

Value your employees.

This sentence can mean so many different things, but it all comes down to the same core piece of advice: treat your employees well, and they’ll treat the company well. It’s quite a simple technique, but it’s one which could have countless benefits for your organisation, if you truly do learn how to communicate and reward your workers.

For one, you could learn to hone in on people’s individual or collective strengths. Different people want different things from a workplace, and the sooner you realise that, the sooner you can start to make better workers of the people you employ. As an example, you could do something to which so many businesses within so many industries fall foul and stop devaluing the female employees within your organisation.

A smart machine uses its components to the best of their ability, so the machine which is your business needs to do the same. Women and men within your company may have different strengths, so utilise those skills. Workplace studies have shown male workers to be very competitively aggressive, whereas female workers often opted for collaborative and communicative approaches. Of course, some employees will always fall into one side or the other, so understand how each worker thrives within your company – or delegate that task to management.

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Play an active role in safeguarding the mental wellbeing of your employees.

Mindfulness is a technique that we should all be practicing, but I think this becomes more relevant than ever in a high-stress, fast-paced workplace. Simple meditation and breathing exercises are concepts that you could suggest to your employees, as they can calm an anxious, overactive mind.

You could also get CISM help from Health Assured, and you’ll not only be caring for your employees, but you’ll be showing them that you care about their wellbeing too. On-site counselling could completely change the mindsets of your workers. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to. Perhaps, as a business owner, you do too. Thinking of the minds of all those working within a company offers nothing but upsides, as a level business head can only be achieved through a level head in general. Remember, you hired people and not robots.

Make the workplace fun.

It’s no secret that our surroundings greatly affect our mood. The final thing I can suggest to create healthy minds is to foster them in a healthy office environment. Ditch the blindingly-bright white lighting and the dull, dreary grey that may have swept across your office. Offer something interesting (it could be something as a simple as a TV or as crazy as an ice cream stand) for employees to sink their teeth into during breaks, add a little colour to the office, and create a clear divide between work and relaxation time.