Business leaders spend an inordinate amount of time these days trying to understand, maintain and enhance an organization to protect it's own demise. Is a better marketing strategy needed, new product development, adding to your sales force? Sometimes the answer is right in front of our face. The best way to strengthen an organization is investing in your greatest asset--your team.
Average leadership is cutting our legs underneath us every day in corporate America. Leadership has become a watered-down word used only to describe a tier in the company that has reached a management status, tenure or possibly someone who was hired to come in and create change. Leadership has become a method to maintain the organization, not enhance it. The problem is that rarely is average leadership considered a company threat. Instead, it may be something that is just bemoaned by company employees. In short, average leadership is the most dangerous of all because of the fact that it produces just enough productivity to meet the day-to-day standards, but not enough to become truly a great organization.
The Unsettling Facts:
- 63% of employees worldwide are not engaged in their jobs--this applies to managers too.
- Only 1-in-5 employees currently in management roles show a talent in managing others. Only 2-in-10 show an 'average' talent.
- Companies fail to choose the right talent for the job 82% of the time.
- A workforce requires, on average, a 10:1 manager-to-staff ratio. This means for a U.S. workforce of 100 million to be managed to the best of its ability, 10 million exceptional managers are needed. Currently, there are 3 million managers (20% of what is needed.)
- Most coaches think that they are high achieving and approximately 18% of all leaders truly are difference makers in the workplace.
The Root of Average:
The cause of average coaching most times leans on the issue of the leader missing the building blocks for exceptional leadership knowledge. These building blocks include:
Competence: There are 2 types of competence issues. The first is the issue of talent. The leader in question is not able to perform due to a lack of talent. The second is a leader who knows how to lead, but cannot recognize when to use coaching skills.
Philosophy: The average sales leader believes that high performance is critical to success in the organization; however, the knowledge gap occurs when the average sales leader starts to believe that high-productivity and high-people concern cannot be combined for higher performance. It may not even be that they don’t believe it; they just don’t believe that it is the performance pay-off is great enough to warrant spending time/energy coaching team members. The average sales coach operates by watering down behaviors from optimal to workable. In other words, they may believe in sales coaching as a theory, but not in real world practicality
Character: Another reason for average leadership is a lack of character. The leader knows exactly what they could and should do to advance the performance of the team, but is unwilling to put in the effort to make the results happen for their team.
Philosophy: The last reason noted today for average leadership is philosophy. It’s the age-old question as to whether or not people and productivity really mix? We all would answer this question, “Yes” if asked, but if we look at people and productivity separately, most truly believe that in order to create high productivity, high people concern cannot be integrated effectively.
There are two likely ways that the average sales leader would reconcile the high productivity vs. high people concern issue. The first is the average sales leaders attempts to keep people and productivity balanced. The sales manager believes that if a tough decision needs to be made on behalf of productivity, then in must be balanced with people-action. This is usually accomplished with disciplinary punitive action. The second is that the average sales leader will attempt to watering down actions from optimal to workable. This manager believes that ‘optimal’ exists completely in theory and not in reality. Their solution is to create buy-in by the entire team by incorporating items that are important to each member of the team.
Average Leader = Average Results
With average, there is no growth in capability that can advance a company to the next level. Once your team recognizes that there is a lack of growth, they become stagnant—there is nothing left for them to learn. The result is that eventually they will take their time and talents to another company where their skills will be put to better use. Eventually, the company becomes also stagnant and will basically stay the same over time.
What is the solution?
It’s not easy moving your sales team from average to excellent, but it is ultimately the only choice in order to advance an organization’s growth into the future. What do great leaders need to do in order to move the organization's needle?
- Seek feedback. Regularly ask team members how they are performing as a coach.
- Encourage. Give credit where credit is due and recognize others when a goal has been accomplished, or exceeded.
- Explain the details. Good coaches always explain what we are doing and why we are doing it?Team members want to know how their role fits into the bigger picture of the company and how they make a difference. This creates an enhanced experience of ownership into the community's success.
- Communicate. We have two eyes and only one mouth for a reason, it is so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. Make sure you listen first, then consider your response in your communication as a coach to team members. A good listener makes for a great communicator!
- Coach! Research shows time and time again that the most productive way to enhance performance, is through coaching their leaders. No great coach is ever remembered for maintaining the status quo. Effective leadership means constantly assessing the each team member to discern when they need to be pushed, how to push them in their performance and celebrate the process.
Learn more about how to EcSell your team's performance: