It’s a problem of leadership.

Contrary to what you believe, you don’t have a marketing or sales problem.

Most businesses think they do. In reality, they have a leadership problem.

While leadership is something most entrepreneurs think they have, the truth is that few actually possess the skills they need to lead.

And when you simply “play” the role of leader, rather than actually step up and lead others, your business can crumble as a result.

Poor vision for the future

This is when CEO have a general idea of their business’s ultimate vision — maybe they want to sell X number of products by Y date — yet they have no idea how to break that vision into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual benchmarks.

They couldn’t tell you how many products they need to sell on a monthly basis, or how many leads they need to generate per month from their marketing campaigns, or when entrepreneurs don’t know what key performance indicators their business has to hit and by when, and they begin to make moves out of desperation.

They become so infatuated with their big goal that they’ll do anything to sell off their product or service, even if that means selling to the wrong target audience who wouldn’t get the value or the benefit of the product.

That only leads to customer complaints, frustration and overworked customer support.

Not investing in your team’s development

So many entrepreneurs, both new and experienced, expect to hire team members that are pre-installed with their same work ethic, resilience and skill set. That’s not going to happen.

But, those false expectations often lead to animosity between entrepreneurs and their employees. That’s how toxic work cultures emerge: The business owner doesn’t want to fire the employee, while the employee sticks around out of fear of change. Soon, those feelings of resentment deepen by the day until neither the owner nor the employee can even stand to be in the same room together. Ultimately, either the entrepreneur gets frustrated enough to fire the employee, or the dissatisfied employee quits on them.

That’s why you need to hire team members, not employees. Employees clock in late and clock out early. Team members are those willing to devote their time and energy to your vision.

As a leader, your job is to invest in your team’s personal development so they can perform at their absolute best as team members, not employees.

Hanging on to a toxic employee

As the boss of your business, your job is to give your team members rope. That just means you provide them with the resources and support they need to grow.

Most of your team members will take the rope you give them. They’ll develop stress tolerance, anxiety resistance and better work habits. Yet, every now and then, one of your employees will use that rope to hang themselves instead.

The worst thing you could do for your business is hang on to that employee. Here’s why: When you keep around an underperforming employee, you send a message to the rest of your team that you tolerate mediocrity. Eventually everyone else on your team plays down to that level, too.

Lack of communication

Poor communication happens for two reasons: because entrepreneurs make assumptions about their team members, and because they don’t want to hurt their team members’ feelings.

Once again, if someone assumes that one of their team members knows what she’s doing, yet in reality that team member is clueless, then the boss begins to feel resentment and frustration toward that person — all because no communication was initially established between the two parties.

They don’t have it in them to call out something a specific team member needs to do better, and they therefore miss the chance to coach that person up to a higher level.

Indecision

Entrepreneurs who are indecisive cost their businesses more money than those who are decisive but make the wrong decisions.

So, why is that so hard for entrepreneurs to grasp? It’s because they have a fear of failure. They don’t want to look stupid in front of everyone else. The irony is that you actually look better in the eyes of others when you can rebound after a bad decision.

Raffaele Felaco |2020

Published by Raffaele Felaco

I am an enthusiastic leader with strong background in direct and indirect sales with an exten- sive experience in both retail and wholesale business. I have been fortunate to have worked alongside teams in structured environments both in Italy and abroad over the last 20 years, en- abling me to develop strong leadership skills, a natural approach in effective communication, the ability of positively influencing others and master complex business negotiations.

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