This is a story of two leaders. We worked with the organisation on team leadership because one of their sales teams was “highly successful” and another was “doing poorly, with a very low morale”. The organisation wanted us to “find out what’s working in [the high-performing team],fix the [low-performing team] and run a training program for all the other sales teams to be as good as [the high-performing team].”
· Ann, the leader of the high-performing team had joined the company 5 years previously as a sales representative. She was good at her job and always exceeded her targets. She was promoted to team leader after 3 years and had infused her own enthusiasm, determination and will to her team. Her team members were happy, hard-working and also successful, most exceeding targets.
· Joe, the leader of the low-performing team had similarly joined the company 5 years previously, though as sales team leader. Joe’s team were, by contrast, unhappy and unsuccessful in achieving targets. This had been the case for all 5 years. The team members had changed frequently over this time, only one member remained from the original team that Joe took over.
Ann was enthusiastic when we spoke with her about her success. Saying “It’s great to have such a wonderful team.I enjoy working with them and we’re doing well.” She went on, “My boss is great, really believes in me and lets me run things the way I want. I like that, and I try to treat everyone in the team the same way. When they are down about something, maybe their kid is in trouble or sick, I let them take time out if they need to, so long as the work gets done sometime, it doesn’t have to be 9 to 5. I trust them to make up the time, and they do, and more!”
Joe was belligerent when we spoke, “I have tried everything possible to make these people work harder and make target. They’re always moaning that their kid’s sick or they have to visit the doctor. Always skiving off, taking toilet breaks, going for coffee. If I turn my back for one instant, they’re gone.” When prompted, Joe continues, “My boss is pretty useless. Only ever comes round at the end of the month to [tell me off] for not making target. To be honest, I’m fed up, I don’t ‘think I’ll ever get this team to perform and the stress is making me sick.”
There are of course, several things here we could expand on, but what was clearly apparent was that Ann’s boss believed in her and she in turn believed in her team and their abilities, that she could trust them and that they would deliver. Joe’s boss, didn’t appear to be that concerned for Joe and didn’t help. Joe in turn, trusted staff to ‘skive’ and believed that she would never get the team to perform.
When someone else, particularly someone in authority over you (a leader, parent, boss, teacher) believes in you and your abilities it helps you to believe in yourself and your team. What you believe on the inside, becomes manifest on the outside. This is usually the attitude that you portray and the way you communicate.
Tell someone that you believe in them!
If, by some chance you are wishing that your parents, teachers, boss etc showed their belief in you… or even vaguely tempted to go “if only…” Go forth right now, find someone that you care about and say the following:
“I believe in you. You can achieve anything you want to achieve.”
CELSIM is the Leadership and Simulations arm of Corporate Edge Group. We specialise in leadership development and business training simulations to accelerate change and deliver sustainable return on people investments.