There is a common thought that goes something along the lines of, “Business would be easy if I didn’t have any customers or employees.” While that might make things easier for a time, I bet you’d also be either broke and bored from lack of work or way too busy trying to figure out how to get new customers and ultimately employees on your own. I’m not 100 percent sure which one it would be.
Obviously, whoever came up with this saying was really talking about how difficult it is to work with people, regardless of what side of the table they sit on.
Since people are the most difficult aspect of any business, it is important that you find great people -- the right customers for your business, as well as the right team to support your company. You must also focus on continual improvement of your customer service and people management skills. Unfortunately, few business owners and leaders actually work on this skill, which is really the cause of many of the problems they experience.
One of the things I learned from one of my mentors is that every problem is a leadership problem. At first, I took issue with this idea, since I’m a big fan of personal responsibility and feel people need to own their mistakes. As I’ve grown my team and my leadership abilities, I have come to realize the truth in this statement. Every problem truly is a leadership problem.
Now I can hear the cries of “foul!” from entrepreneurs as I write this. “I’m not responsible for their poor job performance or customer service, etc.” So understand, I’m not suggesting you’re solely responsible, but it is your job to put the proper systems in place to help people succeed. It’s your job to have performance talks. It is your job to make sure you hire the right people. It is your job to manage the situation before it becomes a critical situation.
Related: 50 Rules for Being a Great Leader
If you’ve ever said, “No one can do this as good as I can,” that is a leadership problem and also a false belief.
When a problem does arise, you may not bear sole responsibility, but you (or a leader in your organization or both) absolutely bear some responsibility for issues that arise at work. Just like with mistakes in life, you always could have made a better or different choice.
No one is immune to leadership fails. Just this past week, I failed twice in a leadership opportunity with various people on my team and in my company. My failures caused frustration and turmoil, hurt some and confused others. Was I solely responsible? Of course not. Did the team members involved bear some responsibility? Of course they did. Did some of my managers have faults and issues in this situation? Of course they did.
No employee, manager or even the CEO is immune from screwing up.
We all make mistakes. It’s how you handle those mistakes and how you learn from them that makes all the difference in the long run.
Your people, your systems and your processes have a greater impact on the success of your business then any marketing campaign can, but few people invest time or treasure into developing these skills and resources.
I’ve spent a lot of treasure and time on my leadership skills, and although I do screw things up from time to time, it is far less frequent than in years past. If I was asked to name just two resources from the dozens of books and trainings I’ve taken over the years, I’d first list my favorite book on creating a culture and leading people, Uncontainable by Kip Tindell, the CEO and founder of The Container Store. I guarantee it’s worth $20 and a read.
And secondly, from a hands-on training standpoint, I couldn’t more highly recommend Infusionsoft’s Elite Forum. This is a two-day training at its headquarters that literally changed my business and gave me the tools from a talent standpoint that enabled us to grow 2,975 percent in a three-year period. We wouldn’t be where we are today in terms of sales and size without this training.
As I said earlier, all problems are leadership problems. You have to invest and grow yourself if you truly want your business to grow.