For businesses in many industries, the fourth quarter (Q4) represents a hard push to close any lingering new business before year’s end. When Q4 happens to coincide with improving fundamentals in an industry, the motivation to capture growing opportunities is even greater. But what can executives and professionals do to keep their staff fully-engaged through the end of the year and capitalize on market opportunities. The answer lies in how they lead, communicate and motivate their teams.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Leaders are born, not made.” That quote draws the ire of many, including me. A good leader is developed through intent and learning skills. To lead your team, you must start by wanting to be an effective leader. That requires you to develop leadership skills, and we are not talking General Patton, here. We are talking about creating a blueprint for our own personal leadership. It requires developing and improving on: your desire, winning attitudes, confidence, belief, future plans, goals, perseverance and integrity. For instance, to improve your desire, you need to know where you stand in terms of your passion for the business and life itself. Improving on a winning attitude demands knowing where you want to go; what you want to achieve – both for yourself and your company.
How can you increase your confidence and future planning abilities? By knowing where you are heading and creating specific action plans that will enable you to achieve your future goals. Clarifying your goals requires having written goals and tracking your performance against those goals to allow you to make revisions in your plan as necessary. Written goals will also fuel your perseverance and keep you on track regardless of any challenges or obstacles that may arise.
All of these characteristics and actions depend on you maintaining your personal and professional integrity. Integrity is a cornerstone of leadership and probably the one thing your team members will most closely align with your brand of leadership. Integrity requires that you maintain high standards and expect them of your team. A big part of integrity is keeping your word to clients, employees, peers, etc. Say what you will do and then do what you say!
We all know how to communicate or do we? And, then there’s listening. Many of us fall short in this area. It’s unfortunate because to communicate effectively, we must first be able to listen effectively. That requires us to really focus on what the other person is saying; turning off the other thoughts in our heads, putting down the personal electronic devices, turning away from your computer screen, etc, and really listening which is another leadership skill. To enhance communication, it’s a good idea to provide feedback to the other party regarding what you heard so there are no misunderstandings. Since we listen with our own attitudes, often we are unable to hear what was said. It only takes a minute to do so, yet it is so powerful in terms of building a better bond with the other person and also avoiding any miscommunications, which drain productivity, waste time and create unnecessary obstacles. Think of listening as a way to extend yourself to another person. How we listen reflects how we treat others. Your employees are very aware of how you treat them and others. Motivating them to do what you want them to do begins with treating them with respect and that means really listening to them.
“Motivating – Getting Results through Others”
Your team members are more likely to close more business during the fourth quarter or any other quarter for that matter if they are functioning at the highest level. For this to happen, the executive too needs to have the skill set necessary to better manage and motivate her/his people. Executives need to focus on ways to make their people more productive, become better decision-makers, problem-solvers and better team players in order to achieve greater results. Learning new ways to improve your team members’ productivity, how to better delegate tasks to others and motivate them is critical. A key aspect of this motivation is employee empowerment.Your people, whether employees or independent contractors, need to feel that they can make decisions and take action. Some small steps that help empower people include: asking for their suggestions, letting them lead a meeting instead of an executive leading the meeting, and creating self-directed work teams whereby team members work together to help support, develop and close new business.
Executives and professionals who act on some of these suggestions are likely to see their companies experience better results for 2020 and greater opportunities into 2021 and future years.
“American Employers Need to Do a Better Job of Empowering Their Employees”
Study after study suggests that companies with empowered employees succeed at a far greater rate than those with employees that are not engaged and able to make a full contribution. According to research conducted by Tower Watson, retaining top quality employees is becoming more challenging as the economy improves. Those top performers who do stay with a company typically do so because they feel valued for their contributions, empowered to make decisions and enhance their performance on behalf of their employers.
In addition to losing top performers, the American Management Association estimates that an employer incurs a cost equivalent to 25-250% of a departing individual’s annual salary. For Generation Y employees, the high incidence of mobility has made the need for employers to do a better job of empowering their staff even more important. A Kelton Research survey found that only 22% of Gen Y employees planned to stay one to five years in their current positions. That same survey found that overall:
-68% of employed Americans felt that had not received useful feedback from their supervisors,
-82% had not established career goals with their supervisors, and
-25% had been given new duties or responsibilities at work that were outside of their primary skill set.
The keys to an empowered workforce are:
· Open and respectful communication at all levels,
· An environment which fosters teamwork and demonstrates that each employee is valued, and
· Management which provides employees with resources, training and responsibility enabling them to perform at their highest level.
Did You Know…?
The average manager spends 25-40% of his/her time dealing with workplace conflicts; the equivalent of one to two days per work week. Market research also indicates that 60-80% of all workplace conflicts result from poor relationships between employees rather than employees’ lack of skill or motivation. What this signals is the need for managers to cultivate an atmosphere wherein effective communication across an entire organization (i.e., between employees, from employee to manager, manager to manager, etc.) exists. One way to develop a more functional, strife-free workplace is to provide learning programs which focus on developing good attitudes, strong communication, positive reinforcement and teamwork. At the core of all of these areas is clarifying goals and expectations so that everyone is pulling in the same direction and has a clear understanding of what is expected of them.
JASB In The News
-ODNLI and LIASB Strategic Alliance
The Long Island Advancement of Small Business (LIASB) and the Organizational Development Network Long Island (ODNLI), for which Jerry S. Siegel, President of JASB Management Inc. is a Co-President along with David Schwartz, President of Executive Confidential, recently announced their strategic alliance. In the official news release, LIASB President John Hill stated, “This is a collaboration that is long overdue. Our groups have similar missions – passionate dedication to small business on Long Island. The LIASB is focused on training and resources that deal with direct aspects of doing business: Marketing, Sales, Business Strategies and Finance. The ODNLI focuses on human and organizational development and both of us drive business towards continuous improvement and growth.”
ODNLI Co-Presidents Mr. Siegel and Mr. Schwartz made this joint statement: “Long Island is still feeling the effects of a devastating recession and the aftermath of Sandy. Small business in particular has taken a major hit. We believe that Long Island will rebound, but in order to compete, small businesses will have to maximize productivity and focus more than ever on their people. Our organization complements LIASB by focusing on the ‘human element’ and the value training and education provide on communication, motivation and hiring skills.”
Answer This JASB Survey Question:
When you get to your desk at the start of a business day, what do you customarily do first? Please send your response to Jerry@jasbmanagement.com. All responses will remain confidential. We will report the results in an upcoming edition of The Success Report.