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Thursday 26th May, 2022

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Training your team members to be leaders

Insight

Training your team members to be leaders

Why elevating from within can lead to system-wide prosperity

We all want to be leaders, don’t we? We want to be that person who creates a vision for everything – life, work, family, fun – and who can rally people to move toward that vision. We all want to be the one the others follow. The one who sees an opportunity for improvement and gets it done. The one who provides clear and compelling direction, who works toward objectives, and who, at the end of the day, or the end of a career, has everyone’s admiration and respect.

We all want this because the outcomes are extraordinary. Leaders build companies. They generate profits. And they are personally rewarded.

But let’s be real. According to the global analytics leader, Gallup, only one in 10 people has the talent to lead! The rest of the people must follow. And that’s a good thing because there can’t be leaders without followers.

Fortunately, everyone starts out as a follower but then, depending on the person and the organization, leaders emerge over time. And therein lies the opportunity for owners of franchise companies. It’s your responsibility to develop leaders.

“Managers just make sure what they are told to do happens; leaders make sure that it happens the right way”

Leaders improve businesses

Of course, there’s more to it than just money but money tends to grab your attention. Leadership professor Jim Laub, at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida, adds insight to why it’s important to produce leaders. Not much happens at a company absent of leaders.

“Leaders change the reality around them,” Laub explains. “They see how things can (and should) be better and then they courageously act to make things better. Nonleaders give in to fear, apathy, indecision, and inaction. You want your team members to be leaders because otherwise you [will] just have a group of people around you who need to be told what to do at all points and do not see it as their responsibility to take action to improve the organization.”

Franchisor Steve White, president and COO of PuroClean, says training team members to become leaders matters because “an organization needs to come together as one team to achieve its mission and goals. Leaders bring people together to make that happen.”

A.J. Titus, president of United Franchise Group with 10 brands, points out that leaders are not just managers. “Managers just make sure what they are told to do happens; leaders make sure that it happens the right way.” Asked to weigh in on why he thinks it’s important for franchise companies to train leaders, CEO Gary Findley, Stellar Brands, says, “To expand your business you are going to need leaders to step in and be ready to lead and take charge. No franchisee or franchisor can build a company without creating leaders.”

Author Tom Ziglar, CEO of Ziglar, Inc., says “the existence of your business depends on continuing to improve your leadership skills in a constantly changing environment. How are you going to keep people excited about working for you and your business in the face of so many tempting opportunities to work for someone else?” The answer is to provide better leadership training. Fortunately, leadership can be taught. Begin by deciding what to teach and determining who will teach it.

Decide what to teach

It’s not so easy deciding what content to use in your leadership training program. Keep in mind that leadership is an academic discipline; universities offer degrees in the subject.

A successful training program isn’t “once and done”, but rather an ongoing effort. Multi-unit Chick Fil A (CFA) operator, Rob Morris, offers leadership training in two tracks. “We have internal leadership tracks for two different constituencies: young/raw talent (as young as 16) and a track for recent college graduates,” he explains. CFA’s success (the company not only ranks first in the QSR chicken segment, but its network-wide earnings are nearly twice as much as its second-closest competitor) is tied to system-wide leadership training.

“Over the course of 13 weeks the younger group receives a beginner level blend of general leadership/ management skills and a deeper dive into our business systems,” continues Morris. “The more seasoned group is involved in a two-year process of higher-level leadership skills as well as the skills necessary to become an expert on all of our business systems.” Of the more seasoned group, Morris has helped more than 20 of them become CFA operators!

It would be a mistake to decide your leadership program will consist of just mentoring. Morris explains, “Mentoring, while still somewhat valuable, fails to consider the rapidly changing dynamics in our industry. What worked for the mentor in the past may be totally irrelevant for the mentee today. Team members need in depth coaching from a strategic thinking partner rather than anecdotes about the past.”

Franchisors who offer leadership training commonly include these topics:

• Goal setting principles
• How to motivate people
• How to work with people
• How to identify top skills
• How to take responsibility
• How to delegate responsibility
• Embracing core values and beliefs
• Living a principled life every day

If you asked Professor Laub to create a leadership program for you, he would include a model for leadership along with examples of how to provide feedback to encourage learners to master leadership principles.

“Everyone wants to be a leader, but it’s up to you to identify who can really earn the title”

He says leadership training must establish a framework for leadership values, culture, vision, team and spiritual discernment. It’s not a “once-and-done training event but an ongoing effort to move leadership down to the lowest ranks to encourage creativity and action at all levels of the organization.”

Decide who will teach it

Few companies are in the business of teaching leadership and even fewer employ a leadership professional who’s dedicated to implementing a training program. As a result, some companies use a team approach to teach leadership.

At UFG, it’s called The Foundry and it’s scheduled quarterly. “The Foundry is a two-to-three-day event, off-site,” explains A.J., whose father, Ray, founded UFG 35 years ago and continues as its CEO. “We have multiple speakers from within the company who teach specific topics” related to leadership.

Even at that, UFG also relies on outside training. So does PuroClean. “We use programs like Dale Carnegie and the International Franchise Association’s Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) program to teach our future leaders,” reports White.

Pay attention to the quality of student

The degree to which leadership is learned may have less to do with what is taught and by whom than it does the quality of the learner. Considering that Gallup reports companies fail to choose the right candidate for the job 82 per cent of the time, the value of your leadership training may have everything to do with the quality of your employees. In addition to possessing the right skills to get a job done, employees who lead must be able to:

• Listen
• Deliver affirmations
• Create vision
• Strategize
• Receive differing viewpoints
• Deliver the appropriate nonverbal messaging
• Model appropriate behavior

But how many companies test for those qualities prior to hiring? If yours doesn’t, you should consider using various assessments that can objectively identify personality and other trait-based attributes.

When hiring, Professor Laub recommends looking for “an attitude or a mindset of leadership that will impact how this person leads. People who are all about themselves will display an autocratic (power over) approach to leadership. If they are mainly about others, they will display a more servant-oriented approach.”

At CFA, Morris says he assesses “humility and coachability” early in the hiring interview process. “We use behavioral assessments to identify a candidate’s tendencies and biases,” he continues.

Joe Malmuth, CFE, vice president of franchise development for Batteries Plus Bulbs, says the most important characteristic he looks for to determine leadership potential is “the ability to build relationships and trust.”

Franchise companies, whether they’re owned by franchisors or franchisees, need leaders to maximize their potential, fulfill their goals, meet market demands and stay ahead of the competition. Ziglar says leaders understand the importance of purpose, personal fulfillment, and quality of life as priorities and necessities.

And the best place to find these leaders is within your company, but only if you provide the leadership training. Everyone wants to be a leader, but it’s up to you to identify who can really earn the title.

The author

Dr. John P. Hayes, CFE, leads the Titus Center for Franchising at Palm Beach Atlantic University where 50 undergraduate students are earning a concentration in Franchising

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