There are over 100 leadership skills that exist in leadership books, training programs and at the heart of most organizations. As I considered the network marketing industry, I wanted to hone in on seven skills I have identified that will help entrepreneurs to become more strategically minded and to increase their ability to be successful in building a network marketing business.
1. Decision Making with Speed, Conviction and Accuracy.
The top leaders in the world do not necessarily stand out for making the best decisions 100% of the time…they stand out for being more decisive than their competitors. If you want to be a strong leader in the network marketing industry, you will want to make a commitment to make decisions earlier, faster and with a great deal of conviction and passion.
As you manage your business, you will be faced with multiple important decisions that will have an impact on the future. Big decisions will require thoughtful consideration, while simpler decisions often require less time. As the team leader, it is important to train your team on how to make quick decisions so that you can move forward as quickly as possible. Today’s most successful businesses roll out products, services and ideas swiftly, test them with a select group of customers and make changes in response to what the test group had to say. Quick decision making does not mean your product, service or new idea will be sloppy. Quick decision making means making a timely decision as soon as possible but not sloppy. Timely, thoughtful decisions can be high in quality and will become higher in quality as you get feedback from others.
Quick decision making can also help you and your team move away from being bogged down in information and will help you to avoid bottlenecks on your team.
Finally, decisive leaders understand that they cannot wait on perfection to make a decision. They fully embrace that on occasion, he/she will make wrong decisions and that although they may fail, at least they made a decision. Making a bad decision is better than making no decision at all, and savvy leaders will have Plan B in their back pocket. Potential customers like doing business with teams that make quick decisions. At the end of the day, customers and potential team members like doing business with decision makers because it makes them feel as if their concerns are going to be addressed quickly.
Many leaders see team engagement as a process of making team members happy and making sure they know each other and feel comfortable around each other. Although a great goal, team engagement means a great deal more than simply making your team members happy. Engaged team members make strong contributions to the team and are actively connecting to not only his/her team but to the larger organization. When you have truly engaged a team member, that person will become a “rock star”, and they are getting noticed for taking actions to create true team spirit and achieve bottom line results.
As the team leader, you will increase your chances of attracting customers and building an engaged team by fostering open dialogue, allowing people the chance to be responsible for their tasks, giving team members permission to fail. When you increase team engagement, you will create a feeling in your team members and customers of truly belonging to the team. When team members and customers are engaged you will notice improvement in the following areas:
- Customer ratings
- Ongoing referrals
- Improvement in quality
- Low team turnover
- Increased levels of productivity
3. Results Oriented Leadership Skills.
At its lowest level, results are achieved when people get the job done, and they work to make things better on your team. As the team leader, if you really want to see sustained results, you will work with your team members on improving their performance level, helping them to redesign daily practices that will yield more time and opportunities to create breakthrough results with the end game being to transform business practices and models so that your results soar.
Improving bottom line results seems pretty basic, but many leaders simply do what they can to attract people onto their team based on who is smart and because you saw them as a good fit for your team. What you may not do is to talk with new team members about going for results in a way that is more than just selling. By learning their strengths, ambitions and shortcomings, you will be able to get a general idea of how each team member goes about getting results, and it is your responsibility to provide the training, mentorship and coaching needed to have them begin to see results as much more than closing the sale. You want to train your team members on not only achieving their results but exceeding them at some point in the future. When your team members are exceeding their goals for getting results, they will actually be transforming business practices as the world changes and grows, which will improve your team’s bottom line.
4.Collaboration and Influence.
When enroling team members into your network marketing team, achieving collaboration and being able to influence others is a basic skill. Collaboration and influence, for many teams, simply refers to who shows up during team meetings and events and how team members interact with each other and share ideas. While these actions lay the groundwork for collaboration and influence, they barely scrape the surface of what is possible with collaboration and influence.
The goal you will really want to achieve with collaboration and influencing each other is to leverage partnerships both on your team and outside your team that will improve your bottom line results. As the team leader, it is important to observe when 2-3 team members are speaking to each other at a much higher level, facilitating cross-culture collaboration. As your team is collaborating and influencing each other in a positive way, you will drive motivation and engagement, and people around your team will stick around much longer if they are collaborating and influencing others.
5. Ability to be Proactive and Adapt to Change.
According to a study conducted through Harvard Business Review, leaders who are proactive and who adapt quickly to change are 6.7 times more likely to achieve success as a leader than those who do not adapt easily to change. The most successful leaders spend over 50% of their time thinking about the long term as opposed to the short term.
Leaders who easily adapt to change and who take a proactive stance as a leader admit that they regularly scan and scout the business world to look for patterns of change, considering how these changes may affect their business. As a leader of your team, you should be spending some time each day reading newspapers, watching news shows, both local and global, listening to new podcasts, watching videos and taking notes about change as you live your life.
The simplest of changes in the world can have an impact on how you lead your team, so spend time looking at a wide variety of life areas to see what is new and what is on the horizon. As an example, the minute a new smart phone hits the market or the minute a social networking site changes their system, the world changes. It may be that the new version of a smart phone gives you the ability to buy and sell by using your thumbprint or gives you instant access to a top notch camera feature or GPS. Or, your favorite social networking site may decide one day to add a feature to keep you more secure. If you are being proactive to watch for changes in the world, you can get ahead of the changes and move ahead of your competition quickly and with a strategic mind.
Reliable teams are built by gathering reliable people together. People love knowing they can count on someone, so being reliable is one of the most important leadership skills you can develop in your own life and in the lives of your team members to be wildly successful. As you begin working with the leadership skill of reliability, you can speed up your learning process by:
- Being on time
- Doing what you say you are going to do
- Being proactive in your communication. Don’t wait for a problem to rise to the surface to communicate. Jump in and address the change as quickly as possible.
- Tell the truth. If you do not know the whole story, do not talk about pieces of information that may not be true. Go straight to the source to find out what is true and what is no.
- Manage your commitments (do not double book or overcommit).
- Know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.
7. Honesty, Authenticity and Integrity.
While I could present these three leadership principles as stand-alone principles, I am listing them together, because they are so closely interrelated. When you are honest, you are someone who always tells the truth, is sincere, candid, frank, open and forthright.
Authenticity is the state of being genuine, real, true and based on fact. Because of the 24-hour news cycle, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and the constant chatter that happens online, it is more important than ever to be exactly who you are without any apologies and not pretend to be someone you are not. If you are presenting yourself as someone you are not, you will eventually be found out by others. Customers of today are very skeptical of doing business with someone who is portraying themselves as someone else. They want to know they are doing business with someone who is genuine and true.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. This one leadership skill is very hard for high level leaders to live in this day and age. As with authenticity, if people find out you are living a double life (professional by day and not quite so professional by night), they will refuse to do business with you. Integrity should be at the foundation of every team’s culture, because without it, every decision you make could turn into something negative for you and your team down the road.
In closing, I would like to ask you to consider these 7 leadership skills and how strong they are in your life. If you are short on a few of these skills, it may be time to work with a leadership mentor or a coach to shore up your skills to make you more successful in building your network marketing business and team.