When you are trying to change the firm culture to be more focussed on business development, teamwork is vital. But to do that you need the entire team to pull in the same direction, and achieving that is often difficult.
I was working with a client today and she was lamenting the frustration of “lazy” staff and associates. They lack the initiative and get-it-done kind of attitude. But as we explored the situation she realized that they come to her because she has an open-door policy and answers everyone’s questions. So she has trained them… that the fastest way to get an answer is to ask her. So in an effort to be a better leader did she in fact become trapped as a manager? Ilya Pozin, columnist for LinkedIn writes… The Difference Between Managers and Leaders. He has 5 ways to be a leader and encourage people to think and act on their own.
1. Managers give answers, leaders ask questions. There’s nothing certain to turn your employees against you faster than shouting orders at them. Why not spare yourself the impending resentment and simply ask your employees this: “What would you do?” or “What do you think of this idea?” Allowing people to participate in the decision-making process will not only transform what could have been an order into something more easily swallowed–it also inspires creativity, motivation, and autonomy.
2. Managers criticize mistakes, leaders call attention to mistakes indirectly. It may seem more efficient to point out your employees’ mistakes directly, but this will only leave them feeling embarrassed and frustrated. You should really be giving them the chance to learn and grow from your critiques. Instead, give your employees the chance to address their mistakes.
For example, say a project was sent to a client and you receive back a disgruntled message. Calmly ask your employee about the clients concern and whether they feel what was provided was on par. This will give them a chance to provide their input, while also improving for the future.
3. Managers forget to praise, leaders reward even the smallest improvement. Praise pays off when it comes to increasing the overall success of your company. Finding time to recognize your employees for even the smallest accomplishment will only increase their interest in what they do. If you’re interested in ensuring your employees take pride in all that they do, regular feedback and recognition is certain to do the trick. Everyone wants to be genuinely appreciated for their efforts.
4. Managers focus on the bad, leaders emphasize the good. This really comes down to seeing the cup half empty or half full. If you’re only willing to point out the flaws of a project or an employee, you’re not giving them much interest in learning or improving. Instead, create a sandwich effect. Start with some form of praise, follow with the criticism, and end with praise.
5. Managers want credit, leaders credit their teams. Managers who lack leadership abilities are always first to take credit. But effective leaders understand the importance of crediting their teams for the big wins. This pays off in the long run for creative a workplace with a more positive company culture and employees who are driven toward more successes as a team.
The stronger your business development efforts the stronger your team needs to be. Learn to lead instead of manage. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that your best source of new business is often existing clients. So lead your team to provide winning client service, and I assure you new matters and referrals will flow your way.