You may have heard of The Mirror Principle, which contends that the quality and performance of the team is a direct reflection of the leader. Lazy leader = lazy team. Focused leader: focused team.
Your team is less inclined to listen to what you say. The team is more inclined to do what you do. Actions do speak louder than words.
The Mirror Principle is no more obvious than in the habits exhibited by the leader. Habits reign supreme. If you have good habits, your team will develop those good habits and apply them in their work and daily lives. When this happens, your office is on its way to great heights.
Charles Duhigg said in his book, “The Power of Habit“:
“Some thinkers”, Aristotle wrote in Nicomachean Ethics, “hold that it is by nature that people become good, others that it is by habit, and others that it is by instruction”. For Aristotle, habits reigned supreme. The behaviors that occur unthinkingly are the evidence of our truest selves, he said.
Leaders must instil in their teams the habit of performing winning actions, which in turn lead to results – EVERY DAY. These habits must be so ingrained in the team that they perform the necessary actions, to use Charles Duhigg’s word, unthinkingly.
You can choose to be the type of leader who says, “Do as I say!“, but that won’t get you far. If you want your team to do the right actions, daily and in large quantities, you first must lead the way. Be a “Do as I DO” leader.
For example, for many years we have advised leaders to go out door knocking on the first Monday of every month for a half-day and prospect for people who might be interested in a real estate career. The purpose of developing this habit, we tell our leaders, is to instil in the leader the habit of always being on the lookout for winners.
The chances of finding a winner this way are fairly low, but this is not the point. The point of this winner door knocking is to sharpen the leader’s focus onto finding winners, and on making this a HABIT.
But this method has a second and far more powerful advantage. When the leader who has a salesperson who is reluctant to prospect, the leader can say, “I door knock every month to find winners to join our team. If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for you”. Such is the power of example. And such is the power of habit. If door knocking is a habit for you, you have every right to expect that it becomes a habit with every member of your team.
Some leaders expect their title to command respect. That doesn’t work these days. These days you must EARN respect.
You do this by your actions, winning actions that become habit. Once your team sees you performing winning actions on a daily basis, there can be no excuse for team members not doing the same.
I don’t expect you to door knock looking for sellers, taking out buyers; etc. – such actions are what your salespeople are paid to do – but there are similar leadership actions which, if performed regularly until they become habit, send a clear message that you are focused on the right actions and that your team should be too.
There is no escaping the power of habit. Habits do reign supreme.