If you could wave a magic wand and effect one single change within your existing organization, what would it be? Would they spend more time on their business, attend more meetings, invite more prospects to listen in on conference calls or conduct more opportunity interviews?
If you are like the hundreds of direct sellers who have participated in recent DSWA surveys, you would very likely list these among your top five wishes for your team. However, in analyzing the responses and conducting further interviews with a select group of leaders – all of which lead organizations with thousands of distributors – we noticed an important distinction.
The “Magic Wand Wish” of top leaders with teams in the thousands, differed slightly from those with teams in the teens and hundreds. Higher self-esteem, greater confidence, or, as they say in some circles, stronger positioning was a common response from the leaders who have already made it to the top.
Why is this? Because self-esteem is the quality upon which all other skills and behaviors are founded, making us stronger, more confident and better able to take on the daily challenges that are inevitable in this business. Self-esteem is, in essence, how we see ourselves in relation to the world around us and is a major factor for success in direct selling and in life.
Assuming these top producers know a little something about building successful teams, we thought we would explore some ways that you, as the leader of your organization, can raise the level of self-esteem within your organization. Think you have this covered, do you? Well, before you pat yourself on the back and move on to the next article, we suggest you take this opportunity to check and see whether you have mastered the art of building self-esteem or are just giving it lip service.
This is a phrase coined by Jennie England, Director of the Coaching Center at the DSWA, which describes what happens when we give an individual our full and present attention. Heart-centered listening takes place when you listen without distraction or judgment;, making sure that you hear not only the words they are saying, but also the meaning behind them. When a person is the recipient of heart-centered listening, she feels valued and respected, which in turn, builds strong self-esteem. Because listening is not a skill traditionally taught, it requires that you seek out a greater understanding of this skill and then practice it whenever you have the opportunity.
ICU Acknowledgment (As in “I see you”)
Do you know the difference between a compliment and an acknowledgment? While many people feel they are similar, the two are as different as night and day. While a compliment makes people feel good about what they have done, an acknowledgment, when done properly, makes people feel good about who they are. Acknowledgment lets your team members know that you see their unique gifts, what it took to accomplish a goal and it is perhaps one of the fastest and easiest ways to build self-esteem in others. As a leader, it’s important not only to understand the difference between giving compliments and acknowledgment but also to practice this skill with your team at every opportunity.
Building self-esteem through small success requires patience and empathy on the part of a leader. This dictates how your team members will grow – at their own speed – not yours. Do you remember how it felt when you gave your first sales presentation or offered the business opportunity for the first time? Once we overcome the butterflies and nausea we once felt early on in our careers, it can be difficult to relate to our new team member’s troublesome feelings with the simplest of tasks. Recognize that breaking big goals into small steps allows your team to feel the exhilaration of success, which builds their self-confidence.
Shifting Their Perspective
As mentioned earlier, self-esteem is greatly determined by the way we view ourselves. People who have a tendency to focus on their shortcomings, wallow in their failures or obsess about their mistakes often have low self-esteem. Help your future leaders move away from these self-defeating patterns toward a more empowering, gentler view of who they are. Do this by refocusing their attention when they are beating themselves down instead of raising themselves up. Help them recognize the power of their personal perception and understand that others can more easily see the greatness within them – when they recognize it within themselves. Because awareness is the first step to creating meaningful change, helping your team members shift their perspective in how they see themselves is perhaps the most important step you can take in building their confidence and enriching their lives.
By incorporating these four elements into your leadership style; Heart-centered Listening, ICU Acknowledgment, Small Successes, and Shifting Their Perspective, you will be making great strides toward building future leaders.