If you are a sales manager who is more suited to social work than leadership, you may find the following difficult. In some worlds, managers would rather coddle people than confront them, choosing peace and harmony over temporary discomfort, and accept baloney over bringing home the bacon.
Teach people that the most decisive battles they fight are inside of them – Focus them on what they can control. Contrary to what winners think, their biggest threat comes from the inside: lack of discipline, no goals, poor attitudes, deficient skills. They can’t control the economy, the competition or how bad they think their bosses are. Focusing on what they can control will help them write their own future.
Do they have a real strategy for success or are them stumbling along – Winners in business and in life have a plan and make changes as required. They don’t wing it, hold their breath, cross their fingers or hope they catch a break.
Don’t allow people to focus on why something shouldn’t be happening – Get them to deal with what is. They must see the world the way it is, not as they’d like it to be.
Insist they accept responsibility for lack of results – When they choose the behavior, they choose the consequence.
Shake your people out of denial – Denial is dangerous and leads to inertia. It kills dreams and careers. It encourages people to look in the wrong places for answers. Until they accept personal responsibility for their actions they will misdiagnose and mistreat every problem in business.
Don’t let your people feel like victims – You know the type. Everything is done to them, not by them or with them or for them. Life and business can be unfair and while we can’t choose what happens to us, we can completely and utterly choose our response. Excuses are in the DNA of underachievers.
The quality of work must ultimately be measured by results – People can’t build a reputation based on what they are going to do. Somewhere along the line they have to stop talking make something happen.
What people think is right and what works are often two different things – If something is not working something must change. Hitting two buckets of balls instead of one with the same poor swing won’t improve your game. Help your people fix their swing.
Failure is not an accident – They either set themselves up for it, or they don’t. Failures become failures long before they are recognized. Repeating the same errors in judgement, failing to develop disciplines, stopping the learning process and not working smart, the decisions made today will determine where someone is tomorrow.
Help your people fight through the fog and see they are responsible, they are accountable and the consequences they reap are a direct result of the behaviors they sow.
You owe it to them because one of a leader’s first responsibilities is to define reality. Invest in them, yes. Help them, of course. Encourage and motivate them, absolutely. But somewhere along the line you’ve got to stop hugging them and get them going. Stretch your people to work and live purposefully.

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