The bad news is that, eventually, all leaders stop acting like leaders. Why? There are many reasons and there is a lot you can do to keep them engaged and productive.
I recommend a two-pronged strategy: leader retention and leader recovery.
Leaders stop leading when one or more of the following are present:
- personal priorities have changed
- disenchantment occurs in response to changes in your company that are unfavorable to leaders
- unhappiness is present with an upline leader
- there is poor or absent leadership from the company
- company training of leaders is poor
- leaders don’t have personal goals
- company or leadership politics make leaders feel uncomfortable
- company provides inadequate recognition
- your compensation plan does not provide leaders with sufficient rewards for their contributions
Retention is doing all you can to keep your representatives engaged and active in the business as long as possible. Leader retention is providing leaders with the opportunities, recognition, and rewards that leaders want.
To keep leaders engaged, direct selling companies must:
- have a leadership development program
- train and retrain leaders
- consider how changes will affect leaders
- provide leaders with advance notice of upcoming changes
- communicate to leaders the benefits that leaders will experience
- teach leaders how to set personal goals
- recognize privately and publicly leadership achievements
- be consistent in how they respond to leader complaints about other leaders
If you are measuring both company and individual consultant performance metrics in a set of key operating indicators, you can tell when individual leaders, and when leaders as a group, stop leading.
Here are steps your company can take to get leaders leading again:
- remind leaders of the benefits of leadership
- revisit past achievements and ask how they felt when they accomplished these goals
- help them to set new goals
- on a personal level, find out why each leader stopped leading and then respond, when possible, with specific solutions
- offer to work with leaders personally to help them to get growing again
Don’t make the mistake of threatening leaders with discipline as a consequence of inactivity. Like all independent representatives, even your leaders are volunteers.