One thing that I think is important when it comes to leadership is you get the team you deserve. And this is a fact, right?
Often when you look at your team around you, and you sort of view them through the eyes of how the business is going now, you should be asking that question, would I re-hire this person? And sometimes you’re disappointed and think, No, I probably wouldn’t hire this person knowing what I know now about this person. But ultimately, we have to take responsibility.
When you reverse the great Spiderman saying, you end up, “With great responsibility comes great power”. If you want the power of a great team, you have to take full responsibility. And one thing that I was very careful about when I was hiring people at Mercedes-Benz was I would bring them into the boardroom. And I would spend the full two weeks of onboarding and training these people. And part of that was going through our company identity – who we actually are, how we came to be, our history. We talked about the history of the brand, the history of the owners of the business, and what it means to be a part of this business.
So I was creating a cause if you like, because people want to be involved in a cause. It’s like soldiers going off to war, they want to have a reason for fighting. It’s not just tactics, it’s not just do this, do that. You end up with people who if you have kept telling them what to do, and then they do it, they just become obedient to do those things. But you’ve never actually explained to them that it’s important for them to think beyond those tasks, that this is the bare minimum, or this is the starting track. But where you want to end up is you want them to be thinking for themselves, you want to be making decisions, and flexing their brains and their muscles to be empowered. And you create that by being a good leader, and letting people off the leash a bit.
This is why I’m quite anti-time tracking software or anti-trust type activities. When you do those things, sometimes you’re saying to your team, I don’t trust you. And I don’t think you’re capable of much greatness so I’m going to box you in. And you end up with boxed-in team members. So remove them out of their shackles and let them venture into new areas, encourage them and foster them. Give them training, ask them what they need to grow and develop. Find out what’s important to them, give them praise when they have a win, show them they did a good result, explain to them what a good result looks like even if you have to benchmark off other players out in the market.
I often send my team things and say, here is what I think is the benchmark for this in the industry. Let’s see if we can get to this level. And often they fill in the gaps and they just move there. And they constantly surprise and delight me with initiative and thinking for themselves for the greater good of the business. Because my team know what it’s like to work at SuperFastBusiness. They’re not just doing a bunch of tasks. In fact, we’re at the point now, where I don’t specify for them all their tasks, and I’m not micromanaging them. We just talk about our mission, how we want to grow our email list, how we want to have incredible customer service, how it’s very important to us that our customers actually get results and those things are translated in the actions of my team.
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