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Why Your Employees Aren’t Following You

There’s a familiar saying that if no one is following you, you’re just out taking a stroll. The question for leaders “out taking a stroll” is: Why isn’t anyone behind you?

Mark Sanborn

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If you’re a leader and your employees aren’t following you, consider these eight possible reasons:

1. They don’t like you.

Research shows we’d rather work with incompetent people who are nice than competent people who aren’t. If you treat people poorly and are generally unlikable, it is unlikely anyone will follow you unless they are scared to death to do otherwise.

The notable exceptions in business history have been those unlikable leaders who had such visionary products that others were willing to put up with their behaviour. The question remains, however: How much more successful could these high-fliers have been if they’d paid more attention to likability?

2. They don’t trust you.

I have a friend who is a blast to drink beer with. He’s always got funny stories and the latest dirt to share. He discloses lots of things about others. And while I like him, I don’t trust him. I know that when he’s drinking beer with someone else, I’m likely to be the topic of his talking out of school.

Trust is even more important than likability. While I may not like someone in a business situation, I can still do business with them without fear of being unjustly harmed or cheated.

3. They don’t want to go where you’re leading.

People are unwilling to go anywhere that doesn’t represent a positive change. They can even handle the challenges and sacrifices of a new undertaking if they believe there is a payoff on arrival.

A client of mine had a vision statement that was heavy on financial metrics but said nothing about the quality of life for employees or customers. I wasn’t surprised that nobody could remember what the vision was, nor care about achieving it.

Their vision statement became effective when it was rewritten to express the future for all stakeholders, including employees.

4. They don’t know why they should do what you ask.

Kim is a young leader who is very focused and task-oriented. She is well-known for issuing edicts and delegating tasks without explanation. She believes it makes her more time effective, and if anyone asks why, she calmly replies, “Because I said so.”

“Because I said so” is tough for kids to swallow and more difficult for adults. Knowing why a request is made is something any intelligent adult would desire. Harried leaders, however are often better at giving commands than explaining them or providing context.

5. They don’t think you have their best interests at heart.

There are times you may ask an employee to do something simply because it is a condition of their job. Don’t, however, think that subterfuge, spin or trickery is fair play. It will undermine your credibility. Be honest in the direct payoff – or lack thereof.

If you accomplish organisational goals at the expense of your team members, your legacy is that of tyrant. As overused as the phrase “win-win” may be, it is still a guiding principle of leaders who get followed.

6. They don’t feel supported and/or appreciated.

Just because you pay people to work with you doesn’t mean they don’t deserve appreciation. A sincere thank you goes a long way towards a motivated team. And support means you care enough to remove barriers and provide the resources your team needs to win.

7. They don’t have the training necessary to be good followers.

Phil is a beloved leader. When he picks someone to lead an important project, his initial conversation always includes this question: “Is there anything you’ll need to learn now to be successful?”

No amount of motivation will help an employee succeed if he or she doesn’t possess the necessary skills. If you are leading a technology initiative, for example, begin by identifying the skills it will take for employees to support you in the change.

8. They don’t respect you.

People respect you for who you are, your competence, abilities and relationships with others. Who a person chooses to follow and why says a lot about him or her. That’s why employees are reluctant to follow a leader who lacks integrity and people skills. By giving allegiance to someone you don’t respect, you lose a little self-respect in the process.

Nobody is perfect all the time, but those who get followed devote more time and effort to being the kind of leader who deserves to get followed.

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Three Ways To Coach – Not Criticise Employees. Find Out Here

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Mark Sanborn is an author, speaker and president of Sanborn & Associates Inc., a leadership development firm based in Lonetree, Colo. His clients have included Cisco, McDonalds, Toyota and FedEx. He is author of eight books including the latest: Fred 2.0: New Ideas On How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results (Tyndale, 2013).

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Strategy

What’s The Worst That Can Happen With A Disgruntled Silent Shareholder?

Whether a shareholder brings capital to the business, experience or connections, you need to ensure everyone has the same vision and values.

Kyle Torrington

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While we often hear that it can be bad to have a silent shareholder that does not want to play ball, it is not often that we make enquiries about how the governance of a company can be hindered by a disgruntled shareholder.

Most of us assume that as long as they own more than 50% of their own company, they are entirely in control of all aspects of the company and how it is governed. This is not true: Even if you are a majority shareholder, holding less than 75% of all the shares in your company can still result in headaches if a minority shareholder, holding at least 25% of the company, becomes disgruntled and neither participates in the decisions of the company, nor consents to the decisions being made.

What is set out below highlights, among others, why it is so important to give shares in a company to prospective shareholders over a period of time, rather than from the outset. This allows for shareholders to prove their worth without you potentially placing your company in a position where it could be held at ransom for many years.

Related: 7 Factors To Determine Who Are Your Employees (And Who Aren’t)

The illusion of holding more than 50% of the shareholding in a company

  • Many people assume that by holding more than 50% of the shares in a company they are free to do with the business as they please. This generally only holds true for basic decisions of the shareholders, such as the removal and appointment of directors. The most important decisions of a company are based on special resolutions. A special resolution requires that shareholders, either individually or collectively, holding at least 75% of all the shares in a company, vote in favour of a specific decision.
  • Examples of decisions that require a special resolution include:
    • Amending a company’s Memorandum of Incorporation
    • Approving the issuing of shares or granting of other similar rights
    • Authorising the basis for determining directors’ salaries
    • Disposing of company assets
    • Mergers and acquisitions.

So, what does this mean for you and your company?

  • If you are a start-up looking to raise funds, apart from some exceptions, you will not be able to issue further shares to new shareholders or anyone other than existing shareholders if there is a shareholder that is effectively dead weight.
  • Should you manage to vote a new director to the board, you will not be able to determine the basis on which they are compensated (their salary) without a special resolution.
  • If you intend to merge with another company, you will not be able to pursue this without a special resolution.
  • If you plan to raise money by disposing of or selling most of the assets of your company you will, once again, be prevented from doing so.

Related: Reality Check: You Probably Don’t Own That Work You Outsourced

Accordingly, it is always best when starting a venture to vest your shares over a period of time. This means that, for example, shareholders are only entitled to have their shares allocated to them after a certain period of time to avoid a situation where you have a dead-weight equity shareholder hindering the governing of your company, and requiring possible litigation to remove them.

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Strategy

There’s More To Team Management Than Leadership

When you’re running a business you need to ensure that your employees are on your side, helping you to make profits. Giving them job security, taking them seriously and treating them with respect, will go a long way in enhancing loyalty and productivity.

Henry Sebata

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The staff that work for you determine:

  1. How happy your customers are with your business
  2. The quality of the things that you sell
  3. The costs that you incur to sell your products and services
  4. Your risks – the things that can go wrong and how much it costs you

All of these things determine your profitability and how competitive your business becomes. How do you ensure that everyone is on the same side and helping you to make profits?

At work everyone believes that they are getting something (such as money) and are giving something in return (such as time and effort). They are weighing up in their mind “how much am I giving, how much am I getting in return and is this fair?” If they believe that they are:

  • Giving too much or
  • Getting too little
  • Then this is unfair, and they won’t work well (poor productivity – how much they produce).

Related: Why Innovative Employee Benefits Are Your Competitive Advantage

The manager needs to:

  • Know what people are thinking about what they are giving and getting and
  • Manage the giving or getting side
  • So that people become more productive

In a smaller business you sometimes cannot afford to pay more or provide the sort of benefits (pensions, medical aid, bursaries etc.) that larger firms can and so the staff may be unhappy, not be productive and be on the look-out for something better.

How do you increase happiness without money?

Everyone wants:

  1. Job security – knowing that you will still have a job next year – and that you will get paid on time.
  2. Contributing to the success of the business. If you train staff to have the knowledge and skills to do a better job and you then encourage and support them to do this then they are happier, and you increase profits. If you then share some of these profits with the staff that helped you to make them then everyone wins!
  3. To be taken seriously and treated with respect. If you do this then staff are happier, and they will also treat your customers with respect.
  4. To be part of the team. You can often do this by having a regular briefing on what your plans are and discussing ideas. Because staff are doing the actual work they will often have good ideas and then will be motivated to implement them – it was their idea after all!

Staff leaving you all the time is a can destroy significant value. If you implement the strategy above, you will have happier staff that are more productive and a more profitable business.

Read next: Understanding Your Responsibility As An Employer

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Strategy

Jeff Bezos Reveals 3 Strategies for Amazon’s Success

One of the richest men in the world shared his leadership tips for running a company.

Hayden Field

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“It remains Day 1.” That’s how Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, signed off in his 2018 letter to shareholders. He’s been propagating the “day 1” mantra for decades, and it’s meant as a reminder that Amazon should never stop acting like a start-up – even though the company now boasts more than 560,000 employees and more than 100 million members of Amazon Prime, the company’s paid service for free shipping on select items.

Here are some of the most useful nuggets of wisdom Bezos shared in his letter and during a recent onstage interview:

1. Standards are contagious

Bezos says he believes high standards are teachable rather than intrinsic. “Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt,” he writes. “The opposite is also true.”

If a company or team operates with low standards, a new employee will often – perhaps even unwittingly – adjust their work ethic accordingly.

He also says that high standards in one area don’t automatically translate to high standards in another – it’s important for people to discover their “blind spots.”

Related: Executive Director Hasnayn Ebrahim’s 5 Rules For Strategic Growth In Your Business

Try making a list of your duties, then ask trusted colleagues to tell you which responsibilities are your greatest strengths. If certain things from the list don’t come up during the conversation, it might be useful to think about how you can up your personal standards in those areas.

2. Set clear, realistic expectations

If you’re looking to raise your standards in a particular area, the first course of action is to outline what quality looks like in that area. The second is to set realistic expectations for yourself – or for your team – regarding how much work it will take to achieve that level of quality.

Exhibit A: You won’t find a single PowerPoint presentation at an Amazon company meeting. Instead, teams write six-page narrative memos to prepare everyone else for the meeting.

Bezos says the quality of the memos vary greatly because writers don’t always recognise the scope of the work required to reach high standards.

Related: Jeff Bezos: 9 Remarkable Choices That Shaped The Richest Man In The World

“They mistakenly believe a high-standards, six-page memo can be written in one or two days or even a few hours, when really it might take a week or more!” Bezos writes.

3. Stay involved with the people you’re serving

Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s a good idea to make sure you never lose touch when it comes to the people you’re serving – no matter how high up the ladder you climb.

Related: Lichaba Creations Founder Max Lichaba’s Inspiring Journey To Entrepreneurial Success

Bezos says he still reads emails from his public inbox (jeff@amazon.com) as a way to keep his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with Amazon customers.

He says he believes focusing on what customers are saying is much more important for success than focusing on what competitors are doing, and he often compares customer feedback to company data to see where they misalign.

“When the anecdotes and the data disagree,” Bezos said at a recent leadership forum at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, “the anecdotes are usually right.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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