Take Back Your Family Time!

But I Can’t Make Phone Calls at 7 AM!
December 23, 2016
Why do your recruits disappear?
June 6, 2017

I used to carry a pager and was on call for 24 hours at a stretch.  Every time I heard a pager, even if it wasn’t mine, I cringed.  It’s no way to live!

The unfortunate truth is that many direct sales leaders feel like they are working all the time — as if they are carrying that pager (aka: a smart phone!).  They get phone calls at night, on the weekends, when they are at their children’s events and even on holidays (one leader told me recently she got 2 calls on Easter).

What happened?  Building a team was supposed to be more income and less work, not more work.  Is it time for your to get your family time back?

Ask yourself, “Have I set myself up as the “go-to” person with all the answers?

I would like to suggest your job as a leader is to nurture resourcefulness in your team members — not to be the Consultant Manual.  Resourcefulness can be nurtured by encouraging your team members to participate in solving their own challenges.  Below are 3 ideas that worked wonders in my direct sales business:

  1.  When a team members calls with a question which could be answered by logging into the back office, say, “Hum, that’s a great question. Let’s see if we can figure out the answers.  Are you near your computer?”  Then walk her through finding the answer on the company website.  Next time she has a question, she will think, “I might as well check the back office first.”  And boom — she is becoming resourceful!
  2.  When a team member complains about a challenge in her business, resist the urge to give her the answer. Use this twofold approach:

A.  First ask, “What’s worked for you in the past?” If she thinks of something, say, “Okay, great!  Could you do that again?”  If she says, “yes,” ask, “when will you do that?”  Getting her commitment to take action increases the likelihood she will take action.  If she has never done it or cannot do it again, then go to option B.

B.  Offer to “brainstorm” some ideas to overcome the challenge. Explain the “rules of brainstorming” — do not evaluate ideas as you are generating them,  simply get them down on paper as quickly as possible.  Then start throwing ideas out and encourage her to add her ideas as well.  Once you are both out of ideas, say, “which idea do you like best?”  Once she picks an idea, say, “Great!  When will you do that?”  She is much more likely to take action on an idea she has helped generate than to use an idea you hand her.  And remember, everyone’s personality is different and what works for you may not work for her.

  1.   Set office hours. Instead of taking phone calls at all hours, schedule office hours for your team members.  It could be 2 hours twice a week in the morning and once a week in the early evening for 1 hour.  During this time, be available to take calls as you work on things in your office that don’t required an intense concentration such as clearing out email, straightening your office or filing.  Then when a team member calls, stop and give her you full attention.  Make sure your team members know your office hours:  announce at team meetings, post once a week on the Team Facebook page, include in your team newsletter and as part of your email signature.

These 3 simple steps will reduce family time interruptions and help your team members develop resourcefulness and confidence in their ability to solve their own problems.

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