Thinking back to my early sales career, I clearly remember the day I was promoted to sales manager.
Though young, I had been very effective in my territory. I remember thinking how lucky my team was and that they’d be so glad to have the opportunity to learn all of my tips and tricks. All they would need to do to be successful would be follow my tips. During our weekly team meetings, I would talk at them, telling them how to do things my way and trying to give them a step by step map. Instead of teaching them to fish, I was trying to hand them fish.
It didn’t work.
People do things differently – they think differently, they act differently, they react differently, and they learn differently. My job, as a leader, was to help them be successful with the gifts and talents they had, not the gifts and talents I had. My job was to teach them to fish.[bctt tweet=”My job, as a leader, is to help them be successful with the gifts and talents they have, not the gifts and talents I have.”]
In order to do this effectively, I would need to know what gifts and talents each person possessed and understand what they needed from me as support. In other words, I would have to listen to them.
Listening and the Weekly Meeting
If you haven’t already, develop a meeting cadence with your team including the Daily Huddle, Weekly Meeting and Monthly Strategic Session. Let’s focus on the Weekly Meeting right now.
In the Weekly Meeting, set a goal to spend 70% of your time – as the leader – listening. It may be hard in the beginning, especially if you’ve been spending 70% of your time talking. Your team may take a while to open up and feel comfortable sharing. But it will happen, don’t give up.
Encourage the process by setting expectations for your Weekly Meeting. Ask each person to come prepared to present. My favorite model is to have each person answer three questions: what did you get done last week, what are you going to accomplish in the coming week and what obstacles do you anticipate that may keep you from achieving your goals. As you listen to their answers, you’ll be able to see more clearly the areas where you can best support and build them up.
Where the Magic Happens
Once your team gets into the rhythm of the Weekly Meeting and feels comfortable sharing, knowing that you’re listening and prepared to support them, then the magic starts to happen:
- Your team will get more focused on results. Every week, your team will be thinking about what they have accomplished, what still remains and what may stand in their way. Everyone wants to offer a good report, so they become more focused on getting things done.
- Your team learns to set goals and to be accountable.
- Your team starts watching for roadblocks and obstacles. By spending time each week looking ahead, they will start to see the challenges earlier and be able to overcome them easier. Each time that happens, it adds momentum to your team and your organization.
- A group of employees truly becomes a team. A side-effect of this meeting strategy is increased camaraderie and team spirit. Your team members start helping each other solve problems and find breakthroughs. Now they’re teaching each other to fish.
I transformed my weekly meetings as a young sales manager and set a goal to spend 70% of my time listening. Subsequently, my performance as a manager and a leader improved dramatically, as did the performance of the team. I still believe the Weekly Meeting is one of the most critical tools we have as leaders, and listening is a crucial component. [bctt tweet=”I believe the Weekly Meeting is one of the most critical tools we have as leaders, and listening is a crucial component.”]
What are you doing in your team meetings? How are you teaching them to fish? What challenges are you facing that I might be able to help you with? Leave a comment and share your strategies and ideas.
If you’re ready to create a culture of performance, learn more about our Building Leadership Momentum through Leadership Rhythm workshop. Leaders must constantly focus on maximizing resources and inspiring their team to reach its true potential. They do this by creating an appropriate structure of rhythm, cadence and measurement that inspires their team members to set higher standards of performance and willing accept increased responsibility and accountability. If you’re ready to take your team to the next level, find out how to bring this powerful workshop to your organization.