by Allie Mooney
last updated 08/03/2010
Pressing the right buttons
by Allie Mooney
last updated 08/03/2010
People buy into a franchise system with expectations of receiving guidance and leadership from their franchisors. At the same time, if their business involves employing staff then the new franchisees will themselves be in a leadership role with their own team. This means that both franchisors and franchisees can benefit from learning how best to manage, guide and direct those they work with – how to become good ‘influencers’.
Dealing with people and trying to influence them can drain leaders of time and energy, especially if you only see situations from where you sit. But if you can develop an awareness of how others view their world and modify your approach towards them accordingly, you’ll not only enjoy your leadership role more – you’ll get better results.
I was reminded of this recently when I was talking to a retail franchisee – let’s call him Jerry. I had met him at a conference of his franchise system where I was presenting a session on influencing styles and he had invited me to visit his business. When I first walked into his store, I was impressed by how meticulous and clean it was. I quickly became aware, though, of a feeling I couldn’t put my finger on. The place felt kind of sterile and the ambience was cool, and Jerry was worried. His business was starting to lose profitability and he wasn’t sure why. You couldn’t fault his systems; he knew exactly what was happening on a day-to-day basis and his budgets were clearly set out.
As he was talking to me, though, he was giving his staff instructions not just on what needed to be done but the way to do things. I couldn’t help but notice how direct he was with them, and his ‘Go away and do it!’ look. I sensed the staff were going through the motions but felt unmotivated because he was at the helm directing and giving very little energy, enthusiasm and praise. That was affecting their attitude and their pride in their work.
Jerry’s style of influence was all about method and structure. He had a very strategic and sharp mind, but as we talked he agreed that dealing with people drained him. His staff frustrated him and he confessed that he even felt spent around customers. As we all know, customers can pick up on such a feeling very quickly and respond to it – usually by not coming back. I thought I might have found the source of his problems and, even better, had some information that would help him resolve them.
Everyone Is Different
Regardless of what the franchise is, and whether you are franchisor or franchisee, the common thread is that we all deal with people. Business transformation occurs when we understand and respect each other’s differences. By understanding what motivates our people, we find we then can give them what they need to achieve results. As Florence Littauer said, ‘I must first know who I am before I can understand others or lead them.’
So how can you best influence people as a leader? Whatever your personal style, we will always have people with a different perspective and bias to us. Sometimes it’s those people we want to sort out – and it’s those very same people who want to sort us out!
Let’s see if, with a little help, you can first identify own your style of influence through your natural strengths and leadership style as described below. Read the descriptive words in each quadrant, then choose the quadrant that best describes you. Remember no one is better, just different.
Loves to take charge
Now let’s look at what each description actually means.
Type 1 is what is termed the playful type. They are very good at inspiring and keeping energy levels up. They are talkers, enthusiastic and strongly inclusive of everyone. Very people-oriented, they bring life into lifeless situations.
They do have a tendency to be impulsive and buy-in quickly to what has been presented. often without doing their homework. This means they can act in haste and then have to find ways of recovering. They are led by their heart and emotions.
Playfuls develop and drive a team through creativity, innovation, encouragement and new ideas. They make decisions intuitively according to what it feels like. Their leadership style is inspirational.
Type 2 is the powerful type. These are the natural-born leaders. They are comfortable being in charge and have a sincere ability to achieve. People describe them as very efficient, agents of change, goal-focussed, visionary and decision makers. They are very outcome and results driven.
They have gut reactions and go with them. They view decisions as the choice between two possible outcomes. Even if they are wrong, they will be able to recover somehow.
Powerfuls develop and drive the team through focus and assertion. Their leadership style is visionary.
Type 3 is the peaceful type. They tend to observe first then bring order out of chaos. They are brilliant listeners. They like to see how everything fits together in a systematic and efficient manner. When making decisions, they will err on the side of caution and would prefer to ‘let it sit’ than make a decision on the spot. They can readily put things off for another day if they sense there is likely to be a bun-fight. Sometimes, if too many changes are required, the Peaceful will stop cooperating especially if they do not feel consulted.
Peaceful types are the ultimate mediators, and bring clarity to any team because of their ability to observe and listen. They develop people (very rarely driving them) through mediation and diplomacy.
Their leadership style is diplomatic and they can rise to be extraordinary leaders because they are gracious and restorative.
Type 4 is the precise type. They are logical, fact-based and great researchers. They have an ability to qualify and quantify everything so that fewer mistakes are made. They feel secure in structure and data. They have a love of analysis; planning and organising well comes naturally to them. They also have a passion for scheduling and establishing processes and procedures.
When making decisions, precise types prefer to gather data first, using their critical skills to dig out any thing that could possibly go wrong. They will only make decisions based on collective, well-researched data that has been tested and tried. They make decisions logically and more with their head than heart. Commonsense and logic is how they process most things.
Precise people develop and drive the team through strategic planning, setting goals and using critical thinking. This makes them very valuable at work. However, it’s hard for them to accept that others don’t look at things the same way. Their leadership style is strategic.
Bringing Out The Best In People
Whatever your style (and yes, we can have a blend of more than one), we all need to remind ourselves that there are people who don’t see things as we see them. Leaders need to know not only their own styles but also the styles of the people who work with them so that they can bring out the best in everyone. Better flow occurs in an organisation when we know not just what to look for but, more importantly, how to relate to those that see the world differently. It’s a matter of putting the right people in the right place: for example, Playfuls enjoy being out front and make good sales people, while precise types are happier behind the scenes.
Franchisors and franchisees alike need to remember that everyone brings different traits to the table and those differences need to be respected. As Ron Willingham says, ‘People are more apt to relate to you if they perceive that you view the world as they view it.’ Now, this is where you get traction in your organisation. Using the above table, you can take a snap shot of the people you work with. You can then use what you have learned to relate to each of them in the manner that they will best respond to. That doesn’t mean that you have to change your own personality – merely that you take account of what others need to fill their tank.
Powerfuls need to be given credit for their abilities and accomplishments. As a leader, you need to be alert to the things they do and praise them for their initiative and drive. Find new projects and places where they can lead – you will make work their favourite place if you do.
Playfuls need attention, affection, approval and acceptance. It’s important for Playfuls to know you love them. They will work well in a spontaneous and positive environment.
Peacefuls want to feel respected and valued. They thrive under good leadership. Peacefuls find change the hardes, so always prepare them when change is required. They love having parameters set for them and never tire of doing repetitive duties They thrive in an environment of process and procedures.
Precise types need space and silence, sensitivity and support. They prefer to know all the background and specific details before moving ahead. Precise people are great at information-gathering. Give them liberty to ask questions as needed; they don’t mind working alone.
The Right People In The Right Place
I’m sure you can work out which of these styles style Jerry fitted into. The way he was running his franchise was absolutely right for him, but it wasn’t right for some of his staff. And if he had managed to employ an entire team of staff who were also Precise people, he would have missed out on a truck load of sales. In actual fact, he needed a team with different styles and approaches – he just didn’t understand how to tap into his staff and customers according to how they saw things.
After our session together, Jerry saw that he could resolve some of the issues by relating to his staff in the way they would best respond to. He also recognised that he needed staff who were more ‘people oriented,’ because, unlike him, they never felt drained by their customers. He looked at his role and realised that he could address some of the issues by creating a well-briefed Team Leader to focus on the staff and customers. He understood that this wasn’t belittling his own skills; rather, it was making the most of them by enabling him to concentrate on business management and growth. And, once he had the right people in the right places, the atmosphere would improve and sales and profitability would pick up again.
The lesson is that to get the best out of people, you need to treat them not as you would like to be treated but as they would like to be treated. If people need to be affirmed and acknowledged, do it. If they need clear objectives and goals, provide them. The more aware we are of the needs of others, the less conflict we’ll experience and the more optimism we’ll generate.
Win A Free Book!
The first six people to email Allie and mention this article will receive a free copy of her book Pressing The Right Buttons - People Skills for Business Success.