Know Your People. Encourage Your People

pat_on_back

I’ve been reading Stanley: Africa’s Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal. It’s the biography of Henry Stanley of “Dr Livingstone I presume” fame. Actually, he never said that. Evidence points to Stanley inventing that line, a bad move since it made him the subject of ridicule in many circles.

Stanley accomplished so much. African travel in the mid to late 1800s was incredibly dangerous. Explorers faced disease, starvation, cannibals, theft of vital supplies, and mutiny. To carry out such expeditions required leadership, in dire circumstances, and for many years without relief.

After reading about Stanley I admired the man in spite of his many shortcomings. Admittedly the only book I have ever read about Stanley is Tim Jeal’s book and some may not agree with him, but it cannot be denied that Stanley, to accomplish what he did, had to be a great leader.

But Stanley was far from perfect.

Know Your People

Stanley was said by his white companions to be a dour man who showed favouritism to his African bearers over his white expedition members. He knew very little about his followers because he isolated himself from them. Despite this, they followed Stanley – up to a point.

That point came when Stanley had to split his expedition into two, leaving behind people too sick to travel, along with a force of fitter officers and a doctor. It was because of the atrocities committed by this rear guard that Stanley’s reputation was destroyed.

One of the rear guard was so intrigued by cannibalism that he purchased an eleven year old girl, whom he then turned over to a cannibal tribe so he could document her being killed and eaten. This debauchery was only one example of many and shows that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

There can be no doubt that Stanley should not have appointed many of the people who were on his expedition. In previous expeditions, Stanley meticulously handpicked his men. But on this ill-fated expedition, he allowed somebody else to pick most of his expedition force. Stanley’s input was much lower than usual. He made a big mistake in not choosing his own people.

But many of the problems with the rear guard came from the fact that Stanley left the wrong people behind. Because he didn’t know his people, he chose the wrong ones to leave behind. To quote Tim Jeal:

Ignorance about his officers was the price Stanley paid for isolating himself. He failed to grasp that any man facing privation needed encouragement, whatever his background.

Even though he had the wrong people on his expedition, had he KNOWN this, he would have taken those people with him on the advance force, where he could keep an eye on them.

Encourage Your People

Stanley also did not offer encouragement to his expedition members. Morale was understandably low, and Stanley knew this. He had been on similar expeditions before and had a good idea of what his people must be thinking. Sick, facing death daily, nearly starved, and in unfamiliar territory, their leader did nothing to boost their emotional states. No wonder they ran amok the first time he turned his back.

Your Team

You will never take your team through the privations through which Stanley took his, but your team needs your help to get them through tough times.

Team members have both personal and business problems. The more problems you help your team members solve, the more barriers to peak performance you strip away.

It costs you nothing to (sincerely) pat somebody on the back and tell them they are doing a great job. It costs you little to take individual team members for a coffee and get to know them better. And to encourage them to be the best they can be is one of the joys of leadership.

Know your people. Encourage your people. Be the leader.

Gary Pittard
Recent Articles

Why Do We Do It To Ourselves?

There would not be one business leader who doesn't know that it is easier to lead the right people than it is to lead the wrong people. Despite th...

Stop Slumps Before They Occur

Any real estate agency leader can tell when a salesperson is in a slump, but according to real estate agency profit consultant, Gary Pittard, the re...

Visual Aids

An age-old question for presenters is, "Should I use visual aids?". While I agree that people can become overly reliant on visual aids...

High But Not Out Of Sight

Goal setting needs to be done properly if it is going to work. Statistics show that only five percent of people set goals. Those five percent earn m...

Getting the Team to Focus

One of the top three complaints from agency leaders is that they cannot get their teams to focus on actions that produce results. Some have been compl...

Make Them Feel Important

Sometimes being a real estate salesperson is hard slog. There is pressure to bring in results, rejection to be faced on an almost daily basis, and t...

Has Sales Changed That Much?

We often hear about disruptive change. Uber for taxis, Amazon for book stores... Now people are saying that a new player in the Australian market,...

Habits of the Greats

Habits are a foundation of success. As you progress through your sales career, your results will improve as you replace bad habits with good habit...

The Changing Face of Adult Education

As an educator in the real estate sector, I have seen the face of adult education change radically. Agency leaders should change their view of trainin...

Keep The Team Busy

Idle hands, idle mind, so the saying goes. School children who are kept busy with sport and similar extra-curricular activities are less likely to...

Can Booming Markets Conceal Mediocrity?

The real estate agent's prayer goes like this: "God grant me another boom and I promise I won't stuff it up this time". Such is the prayer of...

Group Your Tasks

'Task Hopping' is a time management trap that causes huge productivity losses. Real estate profit consultant, Gary Pittard, says that multitasking...

Want to reach your profit potential? Contact us now.

Pittard


Suite 71, Level 4
330 Wattle Street

Ultimo NSW 2007
Australia


Mailing Address
PO Box 2045
Strawberry Hills NSW 2012


: (02) 8217 8500
Fax: (02) 9281 4198
AUS Free call: 1800 663 600
NZ Free call: 0800 448 065
International: +61 2 8217 8500

: info@pittard.com.au

Contact Us