June starts a new “fiscal year” with Thirty One and I am sure it is the same with many direct sales companies. It is when I start looking back, not just at the past year but at my journey. It is when I start setting goals for myself for the new year.
I love this incentive because the focus is on sharing the gift of Thirty One, NOT becoming a leader. For some the word leader is scary. I have heard it a million times, “I don’t want to be a leader”, “I don’t have the time”, “I won’t know what to do”, and the list goes on. The BIGGEST tip I have given my team is: just share the gift of Thirty One and stop focusing on whether or not you will (or won’t) be a leader. Have fun. Help others. Share the excitement and the love. The rest will fall into place.
This is a blog I wrote back in June, 2013. I had only been a Director with Thirty One for about 8 months. The thing is, this is still true today:
I never thought of myself as a leader, let alone a great leader. I have always been a “behind” the scenes girl. When attention was drawn to the work I did, I backed away and gave credit to bosses or those on my team, anyone else but me since I did not like being in the spotlight. When I made the official decision to go into leadership with my Direct Sales company – the thought terrified me (and still does sometimes). What did I know about being a leader? I didn’t want to let anyone down – my up-line, my team, my family or friends. I have been a “people pleaser” most of my life, a follower and not a leader.
An interesting quote by Direct Selling Education Foundation said “the more others respect you as a leader, the more successful your business will be.”
Here are some basic tips to help you to be a LEADER:
- Keep your word. This is a basic concept for life. If you give someone your word, it should mean something.
- Be inclusive, welcoming and make others feel safe. If you do not get this kind of support from you company sponsor or director, find someone in the company who makes you feel this way. I have been blessed with an AMAZING Sponsor (National Executive Director) Hope Shortt. I want to be like her when I grow up. Yes, I am much older than her but she is a leader I would follow to the ends of the earth. I want my team to feel the same way.
- Encourage creative thinking. This used to be hard for me, in my years in the non-profit world, as a Program Director. I lacked confidence in myself so it was difficult to encourage creative thinking in my staff. As I grew, so did they and so did my ability to encourage “outside of the box” thinking. I encourage my team to build their business with a solid foundation of company standards (home parties, etc) and then get creative. Make their business – THEIR business. Stand out from the crowd.
- Allow people to share ideas and concerns. My early management style was a dictator. Fear, low self-esteem and lack of confidence had me instilling marshall law. As I got, older and squashed the inner gremlins, I learned to temper my demands and be open to suggestions. I had a potential recruit come to a team training and share how she felt with my current party style. It was not pretty. WOW! In a room full of other consultants, it was a hard pill to swallow. I listened and thanked her for her suggestions. Yes, I quickly changed my party style so everyone is having fun (or at least I hope so).
- Support others and help them grow. I tell everyone who joins my team, they not only get their kit but they get me. I am there to help them in good times and bad. It isn’t just about MY income or MY goals but it is about helping them reach their dreams – big or small.
- Maintain an exciting and fun atmosphere. In my past life, this was tough for me. I was insecure and thought too much fun was a sign of bad management. Over time, I found it was important to have a place people enjoyed working and coming to every day. My team tells me all of the time – You are crazy! I like to make things fun for them, get them excited and then they share the excitement with their customers and their teams.
- Hold others accountable for their actions. I was a tough boss in the workplace but EVERYONE got treated the same – good or bad. As a leader In direct sales, I struggle with holding my team accountable for their actions/ goals. I am always afraid they will perceive it as being all about me (and my paycheck) instead of hemming them attain their goals. I will alway encourage them and help them along the way.
As I have said before, I originally fell into leadership (as a Senior Consultant) but then I made a conscious decision to be a leader. I do a little each week to work on my personal development. I know if I focus on overcoming my challenges as a leader, I will be able to be a more effective one for my team. What qualities do you think make a good leader?
Have a ThirtyOne -derful day!