Teach Your People to Be Better Than You
We are only as strong as our weakest link
In today’s episode: We discuss why so many managers are afraid to train and develop their people to be better than they are. This is a false premise. The reality is, the better trained your people are, the stronger your team gets, the better leader you become and ultimate, the customer, you and your company win!
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Episode 77: Teach Your People to Be Better Than You
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast. I am your coach, Tammy Adams.
Today we are going to take a look at why you need to develop your team members to be better than you.
Let me ask you question. How would it make you feel, if you knew that your employees were better than you were? Do you find this to be intimidating? Does it bother you are all? What if I told you, that “managers” fear their people becoming better than they are yet “leaders” are constantly trying to find ways to help their people become better than they are?
The reason a “manager” gets bothered by this is, they are stuck in the ego mode. You might recall back in episode 5, we discussed how we often let our ego get in the way of our success. This topic getting your people to better than you are, would fall into this ego challenge.
Some of you might relate to this. It’s natural and yes, even human. If you are the type of person that likes to be better than your competition, your ego can see your people as part of that competition. Besides, shouldn’t we be better than our people? After all, we are the owner of our business, aren’t we? We are supposed to be better than our people.
YOU AREN’T ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE SMARTEST ONE
But the problem is, in a lot of cases, some of our employees know a heck of a lot more than we do. Some will know more about certain products or services. Maybe they had a lot of previous hands on experience. Some people will be natural bookkeepers due to a love order and analytics and maybe you are terrible at numbers. The reality is, in any given situation, there are employees that work for you that will be better at some things than you are. Get over it. Maybe they are naturals at customer service or maybe they have a knack for sales. So the question becomes, why does it really matter if they are better than you and why don’t you encourage it?
WHY DON’T WE ENCOURAGE OUR FOLKS TO BE BETTER THAN US?
I know most of you are thinking that you don’t do this. That you have no problem with your people being better than you. But do you really encourage folks to be better than you?
You see, when I was with Home Depot, our stores had anywhere between a 150 & 300 employees. I watched so many managers and leaders be afraid to train their employees to be as good as they were. Which sounds crazy when you think about it. But what was holding them back from developing their employees to the next level was they were afraid of their people becoming better than they were. When I would ask what they were afraid of, they would of course say they weren’t afraid of anything. So, then I would then respond, then what do you have to lose? The worse that could happen is you would end up with a high performing team!
YOU WANT THE STRONGEST TEAM POSSIBLE
The reality is you want to have the best, the strongest team possible. An the only way to do this is to train and develop them. You want them to be as strong and powerful as possible. Will it make them better than you? Possibly. But you know what else it does? It makes you stronger and better as well. Not only because you are teaching them things and we tend to get better at what we teach, but you are also becoming an even stronger leader at the same time.
Honestly, I don’t care if my people are better than me at certain things, that’s not my role, my role is to continue to get better at leadership and to create freaking fantastic teams, not to be the best at some task. My role is to drive my business, creating the vision. My job is not to hold back my people from achieving everything that they could possibly achieve, my job is to help them achieve it!
Let’s think about this for a minute, if you had a team that was getting stronger every single day, who you think ultimately benefits from that? YOU DO!
But not just you, your customers benefit from this as well. You’ve all heard the saying that we are only as strong as our weakest link. So, you always want to make each member as strong as you can.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BE TEACHING YOUR TEAM?
So, what are the things that you should be teaching your team? You need to be making sure that your team understands how to give the ultimate customer service. You want to empower them to make decisions. You want to teach them how to do their job duties at a high level. You need to ensure that you teach them how to provide your services to the best of their personal ability and then challenge them to do it even better than you do. You want to make it fun.
HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT FUN
A long time ago when I oversaw the cashiers, I loved to hop into our little cashier register boxes and challenge the cashier next to me. The goal was for them to ring faster than I did. To be more accurate than I was.
We made it fun. I challenged them to give great customer service, being quick and efficient and getting our customers out of the building. We would look at the current transaction count and then see after the rush, who processed the most customers. Cashiers loved being put into the box with me. They had fun. But you know what came out of it even more? These folks started to get really darn good and it push me to get even better. It was a win all around, the two of us got better and our customers got in and out of our store in a quick and efficient manner.
This actually just made me remember another example I’d love to share. When I was learning how to 10 key on an adding machine, I worked with the lady with the longest fingernails known to man. Okay maybe not the longest, after all, she wasn’t in the Guinness Book of World Records after all, but these puppies were easily 4 inches long. And nobody could key in on a calculator as fast as this lady. To this day, I still hear the tête-à-tête that she did. She was so darn fast. So here I was in this little office keying in this big stack of credit card sheets. You couldn’t have an error on this long register tape so you knew you had to be accurate. But listening to that quick tapping pushed me to learn to 10 key as fast as she did with the caveat I was only successful if I didn’t make a single mistake. To this day, I’m pretty darn quick when I use a keypad. All because of how this woman pushed me almost 30 years ago.
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
Throughout my career, I always took it as a challenge to find new, creative ways to have fun and challenge my team on being better than me. As long as they felt they could catch me and pass me, it actually pulled both of us up to a new level. Just like my long-nailed boss did to me, all those years ago, I hope to be remembered by my old employees because I helped them create lifelong skills they could challenge their future employees with.
I want you to think about your business now and do you have ways that you are using to help develop your team into being better than you? If you don’t, what could you start doing immediately to start pushing them to the next level?
For example, if you’re in the carpet cleaning business and you have some members on your crew, how can you make it fun and challenge them to help them get better at what they do? Maybe you have a contest on your room vs their room? Obviously, you guys know your business better than I do. So think what you could do to create fun and challenges. Push them in ways that make them better and that they don’t even realize that you are doing it.
If you’re in a brick-and-mortar business, you can have fun with customer service. For example, I used to challenge my people be beat me at saying hi to customers coming in the building. Or you can pick an item and challenge them to sell more than you can. Heck, even in my ice cream shop, we used to have fun as to who could make the best looking sundaes but yet still be quick about making them. Having fun has no limits, so why not have fun and help train and develop your team at the same time.
I’m going to go ahead and start to wrap up this episode. Hopefully my intended message is coming across right. I really want to acknowledge that you guys are hard-working people. I just want to help you find ways to develop your team into also being hard working people that are performing at their best. After all, the better your people are, the better they are at customer service, the better they are at sales, the better they are at doing the tasks, it all makes you both better. It makes you and your company better, it makes your customers happier. It is a win across the board.
If you have a superstar who is outshining you, Great! Embrace them. Challenge them to challenge other individuals within your organization. It is okay for your people to be better than you. It doesn’t make you any less of a boss. If anything, it makes you a great boss because it shows you value the talent that you have in your business.
So, today’s homework is look at your team and ask yourself what can you start doing today to help teach your people to be better than you. Embrace it and rock it!
And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.
By the way, If you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
And don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me to possibly answer on the podcast in the future. You can leave it via the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
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Today's episode, as well as all of our episodes, is brought to you by trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com. Where we provide free tips, tools and resources for your local small business. So whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for a while and want to learn more ways to increase your profit, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams then head on over once again to trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com..
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See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.
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