I hear from a lot of sales people and insurance agents that want every piece of business for themselves to maximize commissions. They don’t want to share their knowledge or their leads. I also hear from those that only want a team, so they don’t have to work as hard. They want others to do all of the heavy lifting. I am here to tell you both ideas are wrong. I believe John D Rockefeller said it best when he said “I would rather earn 1% off of 100 people’s efforts than 100% off of my own efforts”. The greatest entrepreneurs of our time have understood and currently understand leverage. But you must want to build a team for the right reasons, not just yours.
Leverage is the reason to build a team as Rockefeller was making his point. A team can accomplish so much more than an individual. But to build a team takes leadership. “Leaders are like Eagles, they don’t flock, you find them one at a time”, is a great quote. Take from this quote that leaders are rare and hard to find. Not everyone is cut out to be a leader. The reason most teams fail is a lack of leadership. The team is like a chain, it is only as strong as its weakest link. If the leader is the weakest link, the team will never survive.
Before you consider, can I build a team, you must look in the mirror and ask first, am I a leader? The attributes of leadership are proactive, adaptable, passionate, enthusiastic, reliable, honest, trustworthy, self-control, consistent, respectful, a great communicator, both listening and speaking and most of all willing to put the needs of others ahead of your own. When you write this list on a piece of paper, can you honestly check each one of them off? If you cannot, you must work on yourself before you begin to build a team. People will only follow you for a short period of time if any of these attributes are missing. You have to care about the team member’s success more than your own success. If the members succeed, the team succeeds, which means you, the leader, succeed.
Most people I find think leadership is a position. Or they confuse being a leader with being a manager. I will tell you that a manger and a leader are nothing alike. A manager runs his team through fear and intimidation. There is always a threat, spoken or silent, that not doing a good job has consequences. These teams are stressed out, have high turnover rates and a very unhealthy work environment. These team members turn on each other with a “dog eat dog mentality”. Certainly not some place I would work. A leader, leads from the front. The leader leads by example. The first to arrive and the last to leave. Constantly sacrifices for the good of the team. For the leader understands leverage and their success is tied directly to the team’s success. There is no intimidation, the leader sees the opportunity to coach the member up to a higher standard. The team wants to perform at his best because of its leader not for fear of failure.
If you are a rare person and feel you have what it takes to be a leader, now is the time to build a team.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”-—Henry Ford
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Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 28 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.