Guest Post by Lisa Kosak
Note from Jennifer: I met Lisa at a GRAPE networking event and have enjoyed getting to know her. Lisa has years of “in the trenches” management experience and a true passion for employee engagement, so I invited her to share her leadership thoughts with you. Here, she shares the challenges and benefits of joining a new team as a sales leader.
Starting a new job in a leadership role is always challenging and let’s face it – it can be downright intimidating! You are the new kid on the block and you need to learn the culture, people, and inner workings of the company – quick!
It’s even more daunting when you’re facing a team of unmotivated or “skill challenged” team members. As a sales and marketing manager transitioning into a new team leadership role, I have found myself in this situation countless times. I needed to connect with the team, earn their trust and respect, and motivate them to produce results. My best strategy for acclimating quickly? Hands down, I have found that empowering employees effectively accomplishes all of these goals and the best part? It’s a win – win solution for everyone!
Empowering employees provides a stable work environment where team members can craft their own decisions, give input, use or discover their core strengths, and feel motivated. They effectively form a stronger team that shares in successes and increases team morale. For me, it was a chance to look at each person’s inner strengths and help bring their gifts to the surface so that they could shine and achieve goals that they never thought possible.
Throughout the years, this is what I have learned about empowering employees, particularly in a sales environment:
- Empowered employees are motivated and challenged to produce results. In my case, it was an increase in financial product sales that immediately impacted the bottom line.
- Team members have positive attitudes, energize others, and stronger interactions with each other and clients.
- Employees are fiercely loyal people who give great customer service that leads to increased sales and client retention.
- Employee retention is increased which cements the team’s cohesiveness and commitment to success.
There are a lot of reasons and excuses that managers use to not empower people. I’ve heard them all and guess what? You can quickly tell the leaders who don’t invest in their people! Their people are unhappy, teams are dysfunctional, and performance results are dismal. Excuses range from “It’s too time consuming” to “Nah – that won’t work with my people” or “I’m too busy!” Huh?
In addition to the benefits to employees, companies benefit as well from empowerment:
- Influencing employees produces results! Your sales and profits increase, client retention goes up, and your company becomes a market leader.
- Absenteeism and employee engagement are positively impacted – the long term results can be phenomenal. People put forth more effort and are more efficient.
- As leaders, we can have a direct impact on growing a positive and unique culture. Everyone benefits.
- Attracting and growing strong talent has a life of its own. People will crave to work for your business. Employees will clamber to be a part of your growth.
Employees are a company’s top brand ambassadors and mouth pieces! They are one of your most effective marketing tools. They believe in your products and spread the word. They go out of their way to let people know why they should do business with you.
Clearly, empowering people can have a direct impact on success! Here’s an example from my personal experience: I remember a marketing promotion that my team and I created for referring investments to business partners. My team had input about their goals, rewards, and knew the benefits to our clients. Moreover, they understood how their efforts and success would benefit the company. I had the pleasure of working with each of them to discover and bring out what motivated each individual. For some, it was monetary rewards. For others? It was challenging themselves and even competing against each other. The results? They referred an average over 20 investment referrals a week over a 6 week period. They grew as a team. They made new customer relationships while strengthening old ones. They were more educated on our products and were the best marketing brand ambassadors a company could have.
As a manager, empowering people has given me purpose because I am challenged to look for the gifts in my people and bring them to light. People respond when you pay attention to them as person.
How can you start empowering people today?
About the author:
Lisa Kosak is a Sales and Marketing Manager who loves to create and grow people through engaging leadership. Lisa’s core leadership belief is that being visionary and empowering others fosters development, yields results, and bonus: it’s fun too!