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When my team talks about their favorite times at work, they often bring up United Franchise Group’s World Expo, a conference for employees, executives and franchise owners. It’s three grueling days of workshops, speakers and a trade show; the team is up at 6:00 a.m. each day and usually works at events well past midnight. As their leader, I’m right there with them, and I expect myself to work as hard as they do.
That’s what it takes to be the boss, whether you’re leading other people or managing a team of one (yourself). Whatever you ask of those under you, you have to be willing to do the same. You cannot just stand on the sidelines giving orders. You must get into the arena with the rest of the team.
If that sounds more like being a coach than a boss, it is. A good boss should be more like a coach; it’s a much better mentality than the old-time dictatorial model, especially with the next generation coming up. It shows everyone that you are in it together. The coach is a guide who’s been where the team is now and by sharing their experience and knowledge, gains their respect and leads them to greatness.
I think I accomplish this with a coaching style that is demanding but fair. I expect everyone to give 100%, and in return, I give 100%. But it’s not just a grind; I try to add fun to the work while keeping everyone focused on goals and company achievement. We want a fun, rewarding place that recognizes success often.
Being your own boss is exactly the same, but in smaller businesses, holding yourself accountable can be hard. You still must do it every day — because if you don’t, who will?
Here are 10 rules for coaching your team to greatness.
1. Lead by example in all you do
I learned this from my father, Roy Titus, the best boss I ever had. He had such a high level of loyalty from employees that he earned over a long period of time managing them. He was a great leader of people, leading by example with a strong work ethic and in treating people with respect.
2. Be positive in all circumstances
It always starts with the leader, the boss or the coach showing a positive attitude and then moves to everyone else. Being a positive force for our company, employees and franchisees is what I do every day. Even when challenges arise, the message should always be that we can do it and will do it cheerfully.
3. Be fair in all dealings so everyone will know you’ll be fair with them
If you want to get respect, you have to give it first — and it starts with how you treat the people you’re leading. They must feel valued for what they contribute and rewarded for achievement.
This also means calling people out when they are negative or lagging behind. Make sure your people know they’ll be treated with the same fairness in whatever they do.
4. Be a great listener, and ask questions before giving any directions
Make sure you’re getting all the information you need before starting a project or making a major decision. It’s okay to look like you don’t know everything, but blundering into a situation you haven’t examined carefully will surely give people that impression! Don’t forget the most important question: “Is there anything else I need to know?”
5. Communicate what you want and expect
It would be nice if your team could read your mind and just do what you want without being told, but no team is that good. If you want your wishes to be carried out, people have to know what they are. Be sure people feel free to ask questions if they need more clarity.
6. Be honest in your life
It’s one of those values you can’t expect to see in your team if you don’t practice it yourself, and it goes beyond your leadership in the company. If you are not being honest with your family and your community, your ethics at work will not count.
7. Become a lifelong learner
Education must never stop, whether it’s keeping up with trends in your industry or learning a new language. You don’t have to earn multiple academic degrees; reading books, attending lectures or just showing curiosity in daily life will exercise your intellect.
8. Always look for a better way forward
What works today may not work tomorrow, and “that’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t work on any day. Look for ways to improve your products and processes and be open to new ideas — from anyone, anywhere.
9. Embrace change, especially technology
The pace of change in technology can be breathtaking, and resisting it is not only futile but can also be harmful. Stay open to new technology and informed about what’s coming. Your attitude here can be a big factor in how your millennial employees see you.
10. Take one for the team
Lead with the attitude that nothing is ever too small (or big) for you to do, and make sure your team knows it. From helping to pack up your booth after a trade show to making a major presentation at an industry event, show them they can do it because you’ve done it too.
Creating a team culture is something you must work on every day, every week and all year long. Make sure your entire team knows you came here to win, inspire them to score and reward them for every point they make.