The great statesman Benjamin Franklin once said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” And even though it’s been 200-plus years since he uttered those famous words, they still hold true—especially in today’s business world.
Long-standing ideas about how to lead a team are no longer viable. Nowadays, workers won’t stick around for a bad boss, no matter how much they’re paid. They want to be motivated and inspired. So how can you ensure you’re an awesome leader? Start by avoiding these common, long-held leadership beliefs.
- The Myth: No news is good news.
Your team doesn’t need to know when something bad happens. If sales are down, they’re going to get all dramatic about it and leave. As a matter of fact, you’re not sure they can be trusted with any sensitive news, good or bad.
The Truth: Winning organizations have a culture of communication. Your team wants to know what’s happening and why. If not, distrust, anger and frustration set in. Sure, there is some information you can’t share. But when you have the right team on board, you can trust them with nearly everything. Make a habit of over-communicating, whether good news or bad. Your team will respect you more for it.
Action Step: Schedule a one-hour weekly staff meeting for your entire team and make it mandatory. The object is to let everyone know what’s going on. If you have a small staff, let each person share something good or bad that’s happening. For larger teams, the leader of each department should communicate for their team.
- The Myth: A team is only inspired by their paychecks.
As the owner of your company, you have the power in your hands to change a life. After all, you’re the person signing the paychecks. So everyone should be happy—no, grateful—to do their job with no questions asked, right?
The Truth: Great leaders know power comes from persuasion, not position. Scaring someone to death about losing their job will not make them more productive or creative. Leaders who take the time to tell their team why they do what they do earn loyalty and team members who want to shine.
Action Step: Schedule one-on-one weekly or monthly meetings with each team member. For larger companies, make sure your leaders have these sessions on their calendars. These meetings are a celebration of what each person is doing well and how they contribute to the team. Nothing beats a face-to-face, and everyone needs to be appreciated. Make sure, though, any compliment is truly sincere, or you’ll just look manipulative and kill the connection you’re trying to achieve.
- The Myth: You can’t find good workers anymore.
Today’s generation doesn’t listen, show up on time, or have any initiative. They want the world handed to them. Where have all the rock stars gone?
The Truth: You’re probably not good at finding them. Think there are no young people who are willing to do an awesome job? Look at Chick-fil-A. The company has thousands of them. Part of being a good leader is knowing how to hire. You have to be willing to wait for the perfect person—one who shares your values and work ethic. And that can take time. At Dave’s company, team members are interviewed an average of six times before getting the job, and the process usually takes three to four months.
Action Step: Create a bounty system for your team—pay them cold, hard cash for great team member referrals. Once the new team member passes the 90-day mark, payday has arrived for the person who recommended them. To fire your team up even more, give out the cash in front of everyone at your weekly meetings and count it out loud.
Related: Check out 12 steps to a good hire.
- The Myth: Leaders are born, not made. You either have that certain charismatic something or not.
The Truth: Nearly everyone has the potential to become a great leader. It’s a skill that can be developed—but not overnight. It takes time, experience and knowledge.
Every business goes through five distinct stages. Find out which stage your business is in with our free assessment.
Action Step: Learn from those who have been down the same path you’re taking by attending EntreLeadership Master Series. Based on the principles Dave used to grow his company from a one-man show to a multimillion-dollar national brand, you’ll walk away with principles that will maximize your leadership, business and profits. Seating is limited for this intense four-day event, which will be held in Nashville on November 1-5, 2021. Learn more now.
Becoming a great leader is never easy. But if you are willing to put in the hard work, you’ll find yourself with a team full of passionate people who are willing to slay dragons right alongside you and do whatever it takes to win. It’s definitely worth the wait.