How Not To Lead Your Team

team conceptWhen we start working with clients, big changes happen. They completely change the way they look at their inventory. It becomes clear that EVERY buying decision is a decision of investment. We specifically show them how to balance inventory they own. This makes sure that they have exactly the right amount of inventory in the right areas (or classes) of their store. They learn where they are missing business and where they are tripping over cash right on their sales floor. For every $1000 they pay us, we show them at least $3000 back. The owner gets very excited as they see the results. So this is all great, right?

Well not always….

At least their team doesn’t always think so.

Sometimes, the team doesn’t understand it – no matter how many times they are told. All they see is that the inventory amount is decreasing. And the amount of merchandise in some of the areas of the store is different. They get nervous. They push back.
I was talking to a new client yesterday about this. We were discussing about employee and customers being concerned about the store changing. WE know that they are good changes – sales way up, inv way down! But it is difficult to deal with sometimes. So we talked about what to say to them to get them to understand and come on board.

After hanging up the phone, I saw this great article about leadership that stated this:
“Traditional leaders tell and give answers; coaching-leaders don’t lead.

Giving answers and taking control works for robots, not talent.

Asking more questions feels awkward at first, but it’s empowering and freeing once embraced.”

This was a great way of handling the situation. I wish I had the author’s name! Ask more questions to find out the person feels the way they do. Listen to the answers and then respond. Don’t make any assumptions and don’t take control. It isn’t how we naturally respond. We tend to just answer the question.

In sales training I always stress the importance of developing relationships. I teach that a key way of doing this is by asking questions!

I tell this story: A customer walks through your door and says, “I love that shoe in the window! Do you have it in a size 9?”
Your immediate response is, “Let me check.”


Your correct answer should be, “I’ll be happy to check. Where are you going to wear it?”

By asking that question you are getting more knowledge about the customer and you can bring out 2 other pairs of shoes to show also! So, if you don’t have the shoe, you have options at the ready. As stated above, this process is empowering and freeing.
But we don’t always do this with our team or with our raving champions in other situations.
When asked a question, stop and think if you can answer it with another question! Then listen and respond.
Be empowered. Get more insight. Get more knowledge. And Learn how not to lead your team.

You will be in a position to be of better service to your team AND your raving champions.