Lots of people talk about leadership, but few go beyond tactical ways to get more out of your people. However, as a CEO, your ability to get buy-in from your team, and keep them highly engaged and motivated, is critical to not only your company culture, but to your bottom line.
Metrics and performance matter. They are indicators of what action needs to be taken to get a specific result. However, if you don’t dig deeper, you are likely going to either spend years training someone only to have them leave you and go off on their own, or have the kind of rapid turnover that makes you want to lose your mind.
Stepping into the next level of leadership helps you retain people longer, and in a much happier way. But, there’s a couple of caveats.
- You will have to devote 80% of your time and energy to building up your team. Next level leadership isn’t for those struggling to make sales, it’s for those who have a dialied in sales mechanism and the systems in place to be able to focus their attention on their team’s ability to make sales.
- You will have to learn to trust. You will have to move past your previous bad experiences, and risk things not turning out how you planned. If you’re a CEO, then that’s not new for you. So, you are going to have to lean in to this and trust that even if things don’t work out, you’ll figure out a path forward.
How do you step into next level leadership?
Understand your people.
Next level leadership starts with understanding your people. What are their goals? What are their personal dreams? What do they aspire to do? What motivates them? Who, besides themselves, are they working for? How can you help them accomplish everything they want to accomplish inside of your company? This is such a critical piece of next level leadership, but it takes time and effort, and is often overshadowed by day to day tasks and tactics
When someone first interviews with your company, ask some of these questions. When you are making an offer to someone, explain the available career progression for their role. Knowing what they want is the first step to next-level leadership.
Tie their daily action to their own personal “why”.
When you bring someone new onto your team, you want to make sure they know exactly what success looks like when it comes to their role in the company. You also want them to understand the actions that will be required to reach success on a daily and weekly basis. However, knowing the actions to take and the outcomes necessary is not enough. If you want your team in it, 110%, even when things get difficult, if they are going to be innovators and leaders who move your company forward, without you, they need to see how their daily actions, and the outcomes those actions lead to, will get them what they want. You need to make that connection for them regularly.
Recognize that you are the mirror.
When things go wrong in your company, when energy and morale are low, remember that your people are a reflection of you. If you are showing up with doubt, if you are closed off, if you have a bad attitude, then those things will be mirrored back to you. If you cut corners, if you have a lax approach to things, so will your employees. You set the tone. You are the barometer. If things aren’t going how you planned, look first at what YOU can do differently. That doesn’t mean that people who aren’t pulling their weight get to stay, but it does mean that you take ownership of your role, and understand that you are a mirror for whatever is happening in your company.
Next level leadership requires you to do things differently. It is a challenging pursuit, but one that will ultimately move your company into the self-led phase. You will be able to step back and enjoy life, while your company runs for you!