Last month I wrapped up on your field trainers. This month I’m moving on to the next level in your canvassing department hierarchy. Field trainers are your first-line of management; middle managers are the next level. I have been referencing over the last few months the book Semper Fi: Business leadership the Marine Corps Way regarding the roles that play in managing canvassing. This is a must read for managers and owners in any business.
Your middle managers are your team leaders though they have to have the credibility among the department to be able to lead effectively. I believe middle managers should rise through the ranks. They’ve proven they can get and capture leads and they’ve dealt with the situations so they don’t have a problem with credibility. You may have to help them address authority issues, but their credibility is in place.
The challenge hiring a manager from outside your company, or more so without canvassing experience. They don’t carry an ingrained credibility. I preach and teach that you should create an ascension model for canvassers to rise through the ranks and aspire to become a field trainer and/or team leader. That’s all good except for the canvassing department who is starting out and their canvassers are new to the company. Finding a manager outside may be the canvassing department’s only option. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe it’s always a good idea to be always looking for talented managers outside the company and fast tracking them up your manager ascension model. Unfortunately, these people are few and far between.
The middle manager has to be able to take some risks. They have to make the people below them successful. They have to work to help those people to shine. The risk comes because the manager’s success falls on the backs on the people they manage. A true manager doesn’t distance themselves from the fault of failure, rather jumps in and takes sole responsibility for the success or failure of his or her department or team. Too often employees know that when the department performs poorly that the manager is the last to get axed because of the relationship they have developed with upper management. The middle manager has to shift their mindset to a position they won’t make excuses for poor performance. Only then will a middle manager have credibility and authority with their department or team. It’s not an authority in the sense of control, rather respect.
Here are 5 aspects to consider when developing your middle manager or team leader.
1. Consider the Big Picture
What role does and will canvassing play in the whole operation of the company? Very often other departments within the company don’t perceive canvassing as a valuable contributor to the overall company. Never let anyone think that your canvassers or canvassing isn’t a necessary resource for the health and survival of the company.
2. Lead by example
Put your people before the paper and more importantly, put them before your smart phone. When people ask for and need help, be all in!
3. Be fair and flexible
When you’re in front of the room instructing canvassers on scripts and rebuttals, unless they’ve seen you in action, in the back of their mind, they’re thinking, “What do you know about what it really takes to do this job?” Never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t be willing and ready to do yourself. Your team is to be an extension of you, though you have to be prepared to be able to lead by example.
4. Inform your troops
People will accept the truth even though that’s not what they wish to hear sometimes. Your people will respect you when you’re transparent with them. Share all the news, including the bad and how you’re going to proceed. Always get in front of any circulating rumors as soon as you can.
5. Encourage your people to ask “why?”
You should encourage your people to ask “Why?” They should feel comfortable asking why you suggest or expect something be done. This goes beyond obedience.
A more detailed discussion on these 5 aspects was discussed during my Silver Tele-coaching call. You can find out more about Silver level membership and how to become a member by clicking on the link below.