As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of Richard Branson and his philosophies in how he leads his teams to create amazing businesses the world over. It seems to have worked out pretty well for him so far! I thought it would be worthwhile to share his five tips for getting the best out of his people – so here goes:
- Put employees before customers. A lot of businesses don’t have this as their focus, it’s either put the customer first or much worst the shareholder first. If your focus is on employing the best people and motivating them to be the best when they are at work, they will naturally treat customers extremely well.
In the words of another successful businessman, Tom O’Toole, owner of the Beechworth Bakeries who has a similar philosophy – “If I have happy staff I’ll have happy customers and the money will pour in.”
What are you doing to make your team the heroes of your business? If they are empowered, rewarded with positive feedback and know where they fit into the big picture, you’re well on your way to achieving this.
- Give staff freedom. I have mentioned the power of this before, if your team feel empowered to make decisions (within agreed limits) and they are allowed to be creative in their role, you will get massive buy-in and doses of motivation.
Leadership is critical in making this happen, as you have to give your team the opportunity to make decisions and mistakes and learn from this. Don’t judge them by your own set of skills, instead train and coach them – as Tom says, “Don’t blame them, train them.”
- Instil the company ethos in all staff and encourage them to live it. First, you have to have a company ethos that your team understands and buys into. Also, leaders have to lead by example and provide encouragement when they see the right behaviours being displayed by team members.
It is also critical that team members who do not live the ethos are made aware of their behaviour and encouraged to improve. This way your team clearly know what is expected and know what they can and can’t do. Tom again “Culture is caught, not taught.”
- Open door policy. Another key area of modern leadership I have shared before – you need to get to know your team and what makes them tick. Show interest in who they are and get to know them personally (within reason of course). Be there for them when they need to vent or are having a bad day, show that you care.
And one of the greatest leadership skills you can possess is to listen to your team. This makes them feel valued and as Branson said, “Great ideas come from the strangest places, create an environment where ideas can flourish.”
- Encourage staff to bring their personalities to work. This is essential as your customers want to be served by someone who is genuine and cares about them. Encourage your team to connect and build strong relationships with customers. This will help develop such a strong relationship that customers will want to come back.
Leaders need to show their human side to their team and millennials just want their bosses to be themselves as well.
I hope the tips are helpful and as always I challenge you to rate yourself against the five ideas and look for ways you can improve. This will help you to be the best leader you can be.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.