Want a Resolution for 2023? Be Kind and Appreciative


(By James Bahm) I love when my wife and I can talk about our day.  She is a travel agent and despite my bias, she is tremendously talented and could teach a master class in customer service.  Something she said to me the other day inspired me to write this column.

I remember being on a movie set rehearsing an intense scene with a co-star, and I shared this story: Two surgeons were in the OR, one was a seasoned veteran, the other was just out of med school.  The latter asked the former, “Are you ever nervous?” “No,” the former replied, “because this is brain surgery, not acting.”  There are some areas to examine when companies see a revolving door in the sales area.  In random order, they include micromanaging, a lack of leadership, no mentorship, and a lack of appreciation.

Eliminating Micromanagement

You’ve hired adults to do a job only adults can do.  Let them do it.  When you start babysitting their every move and critique meaningless minutia you send a message that doing things your way is more important than giving your team the flexibility to explore their creativity and flourish in their position.  If you have someone on staff who loves to write, pay them to write a blog on your station website.  (If you have a cluster, put the blog on each station’s website.)  You’ll immediately build credibility, and you can drive traffic to your site.


The purpose of leadership is to create more leaders, not to gather followers.  Your sales team are leaders in the community.  They are the experts their clients turn to for information, ideas, and strategies for growth, especially in a market where forecasts for next year show growth being flat.  You need to be the leader to your team that you want your staff to be with their customers. Imagine the growth you’ll see next year when you empower everyone on your team to lead.  A title doesn’t make you a leader, your actions do.  Anyone can be a leader, and everyone should be a leader.  Find out what each person on your team excels at and have them teach and share it with the team in your meetings.


I spend time each week teaching and training my colleagues.  When they reach out to me, my response is always, “How can I help?”  If you were an intern at a teaching hospital, you’d expect and demand that your residents and attendings teach you.  Your staff should demand the same thing from you.  Teach them in such a way that they will thrive.  Don’t talk down to them when they make a mistake, elevate them by showing them what they missed, then show them how to improve.  If they need to build better presentations, take them through it step by step.  Training doesn’t end when they finish onboarding.  I teach, share, and educate throughout the day, regardless of if it’s with a new hire, or my regional VP.  Our culture is such that everyone is empowered to be a leader.  I make appointments in Outlook and schedule time to go over whatever my colleagues say they need help with.  I do this, so they can take my place one day, which is something every great leader does.


I’ve worked places where I never felt appreciated, and now I’m shown and told how much I’m appreciated daily.  We went through the mail last week and my wife held an envelope and looked quizzically at it wondering if she should open it.  She is a travel agent and works with people all over the country.  One of her supervisors took the time to send her a Thanksgiving card letting her know how much the leadership team appreciated the way she cared for her guests and went above and beyond to provide excellent customer service.  Someone who’s appreciated gives extra effort, and the appreciation they receive comes through in the work they do for others.   Do you want to see your team give more?  Show them genuine appreciation and show them often.

“When you stop and think about it, you won’t believe it’s true that all the love you’ve been giving has all been meant for you.” – Justin Hayward

That’s true here.  What you give to others is meant to be given to you.  Do you want to be the boss who’s spinning the revolving door around, or a leader with the team who’s defying forecasts and outpacing the market?

The more kindness, respect, and appreciation you show your team, the more it will be reciprocated to you and to your station’s clients.  This approach is not brain surgery or acting, nor is it some Pollyanna pie in the sky fantasy.  I’m a part of a company that practices this and when the spark of kindness begins to show, it’s contagious and spreads fast.

If you show your team the way to lead and give them the freedom to grow while mentoring them with genuine appreciation, you’ll see unprecedented results.  Make these resolutions now and change your culture before you look up to find you’re the only one in an empty room staring at a revolving door.


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