Pejman Ghadimi is the author of "Third Circle Theory," a powerful book explaining how some of today's top visionaries are made. Since the age of 25, he has been financially independent and has decided his time to bringing Secret Entourage and Secret Academy to life, a unique platform that focuses on helping motivate, educate and improve the lives of young entrepreneurs worldwide.
Before I became a successful entrepreneur and business owner, I was a banker. I spent years working in various leadership positions: branch manager, retail manager, regional manager (in other words, all the managerial positions in the banking industry), through which I managed over 100 people during that time. Throughout my tenure in corporate America, I worked under numerous incredible leaders, as well as some not-so-incredible ones. I received many pieces of advice pertaining to leading people during this time, but none stuck with me throughout my life as much as these three.
You Can't Manage 100 People the Same Way You Manage 10
When I transitioned from working as a retail manager to leading regional manager, I increased my employee base tenfold. It became difficult to lead 100 people with the same tenacity, as well as know what factors motivated all of them. I learned that the solution simply required changing my perspective on leadership.
The biggest difference between those who lead big teams and those who lead small teams is the inability to connect with all team members. This impediment ends up affecting the communication chain, which causes the company's vision and direction to lose momentum. The bigger the team, the more difficult it is to communicate.
Most people in charge think that constantly coaching and sharing objectives with all teams is a must, but a true leader also needs to make sure everyone he or she is communicating with understands not just the message, but also the tone of that message. When I used to communicate corporate messages down from our CEO, for example, I made sure to include how to communicate it to their teams as well. This created a message that was understood the same way across 26 different teams. I also assigned a time when such message would need to be communicated by, and would randomly check in with team members to confirm their understanding of the message.
Know Why Others Should Follow You, and Vice Versa
Leadership is measured by the ability to lead teams to better places and by the growth each team member makes in the process. It is also fundamental to know when to push team members out of their comfort zones. Achieving great results is only a small portion of the obligation of a great business leader.
The other side of the coin is to ensure your team is growing as fast as your business so that you can keep scaling year after year. The best businesses are not the ones that grow the fastest, but rather are the ones that can sustain growth over time.
At each staff meeting, I used to remind people of what their personal goals were in front of one another. This way, they were responsible not only for achieving common objectives, but also for the success or failure of their teammates. Great teams don't just complement one another; they also elevate each other to be better. A leader who creates this environment will, without a doubt, be followed and respected.
Emotional Leadership Isn't Leadership
Remaining passionate about people, business and goals is important. However, being emotional never helps. Great leadership is not tested when everything is great, but rather when nothing goes as planned. The goal here is not to shelter your team from pain or to prevent them from knowing that things are bad, but rather to foster an environment that allows them to perform at their best. When those bad leaders I had didn't know how to handle their superior's wrath, they would pass that stress onto those under their management. Most of the time you have to become like a filter to your employees to ensure that poor leadership coming from above doesn't disturb the order.
Be logical and productive in your directions, even if you are at the mercy of those above you in the pecking order. This creates a positive and productive environment, rather than one propelled by fear. In my communications to teams, I've always chosen to not focus on what we were not doing, but on what we should be doing. If I focused on the negative, then we would have never reached our goals. Instead, my focus was on the path we needed to take and how we needed to bridge the gaps in our results. In other words, it was solution-oriented. This also prevented employees from working unethically based on fear of losing their jobs.
Keeping these three points in mind will give you a different perspective on managing your employees. The bigger the team, the more difficult it is to share common goals, and therefore the tone of the message employees receive should always remain the same, no matter who it comes from. It is not all about how fast your business grows, but how sustainable it can become. The best way to do this is to understand that people are all we can lead in life -- not numbers, and certainly not results.
People always have a choice as to whom they follow. I have learned that being a leader is much more than the title on your business card. The No. 1 rule to great leadership is accepting that you can always choose how you lead, even if the odds or situations you find yourself in may seem against you. Never forget that the best businesses in the world today are not built by great leaders, but rather by great teams.