Leadership is difficult. Even when the people you’re leading have something in common, it’s tough to lead a varied group of people. Leading a group of independent, free-thinking employees presents a unique challenge, but it’s one that allows you to leave your mark.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Barth Getto, president of Empowery eCommerce Cooperative, talks about the challenges of leading a varied group of people well. Barth, who leads a collection of independent entrepreneurs that sell in the eCommerce space, says you must learn to motivate and encourage.
Lead by experience
First and foremost, it’s much easier to lead a group of people when you have experience doing their job. If you’re the VP of sales, it will be easier to lead a sales team if you’ve sold the product yourself.
People look at you differently when you’ve walked in their shoes.
You also have to set very specific goals and hold people to those goals.
Salespeople want to be told when they’re doing well. They don’t mind being told when they are doing poorly if they’re being measured fairly.
Realize, too, that you can motivate so much better by giving positive feedback than you can by giving negative feedback.
Be a confident leader
When you’re a leader who isn’t worried about losing your leadership position, that confidence allows you to operate differently. You relax a little more.
Some managers see capable people as a threat to their own positions. They fear that if they give too many public accolades to another person in the organization, they’ll lose their job to that person.
Barth said his goal is to make sure his employees are so well-versed in how the company runs that they won’t miss him when he leaves.
As a leader, the leaders he raises up are his legacy. He trains them and gives them all the tools they need to succeed. It’s a selfless idea: striving to benefit everyone instead of just yourself.
Every time he has left a company, it has done well in his absence.
Seek group input
There’s no such thing as a perfect decision. The best you can hope for is to analyze all the information you have and make the best decision you can.
No one has all the answers to any issue, and that’s especially true in eCommerce.
It is possible, however, to improve your odds by including others in the process.
Issues are easier to identify when you have a good CRM in place and a good tracking system so you can provide examples to your team members.
When issues arise with people on your team, tackle them head-on. People who know you care about them will be open to discussions about their performance.
Allow them to be part of the discussion. Ask them where they believe the problem is occurring. Treat it more like a consultation than an accusation.
Again, this is why experience in their job gives you credibility because you’ve personally done the work they are doing.
Also realize that sometimes releasing people from a job that isn’t a good fit is a kind act.
Enjoy the work
Building leaders is rewarding work, especially when you lead a varied group of people. Barth compares it to watching a child grow.
As your team gels and solidifies, you watch the organization move forward and find more success and learn from its mistakes.
The goal, he said, is to watch people blossom and then step out of the way to let them lead. In short, when you lead well, you’re working yourself out of a job.
Once you’ve had success, it’s easy to find another organization that needs your help, and then you get to have the experience again.
Be positive. Give your team a shot in the arm. Do things together outside of just selling.
Understand how your people like to have information shared. It’s easy to have a conversation with someone who knows you care about him.
“Your Legend” episode resources
Connect with Barth via email, email@example.com. If you’re a listener in the eCommerce space selling through any major marketplace, Barth would love to talk with you about becoming a member of the cooperative.
The costs are nominal but the benefits are huge. The co-op provides a support network — a sort of safety net — and helps you sort through the wild-west aspect of eCommerce.
Grab a copy of the book Turn the Ship Around that Barth mentioned during the podcast.
If you think you might benefit from more stories like these, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program that brings sellers of all levels and all industries together to share insights. We’re beginning a new semester this fall, and we’d be honored for you to join us.
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