I recently heard an interview with the CEO of a major hospitality company. He said there are three types of customers. Dissatisfied, satisfied, and loyal customers. Dissatisfied customers will do damage to the reputation of your business. Satisfied customers will come back but they may walk away if there is a “better deal across the street.” Loyal customers, on the other hand, will favor your business over the competition – even pay more for a similar product, because they are loyal to your brand. Loyal customers are known as “brand evangelists,” because they brag about your product and help attract more customers.
A Parallel in Leadership
Leadership implies followership. Every leader has a team of subordinates. Your team isn’t exactly the same as your customers, but we can safely say that as a leader, you have the same three types of followers (team members).
There will always be dissatisfied team members who will eventually leave (or be fired).
Most teams are made up of satisfied members, who are happy to follow the leader’s vision, but may move on to someone else’s vision if circumstances are right.
Excellent leaders have loyal followers who are excited to be on the team and actually attract others to the vision.
You are probably thinking: How can I get #3 followers on my team? I asked that question myself, looked around, and here are five leadership practices that will help you attract and maintain a loyal following.
Focus on Others. Simply put, that is servant leadership. Invest in others and cultivate a culture of selflessness around you. Then watch as loyalty builds up.
Be Intentional. This may sound obvious, but loyalty does not come by accident. The best businesses attract and maintain loyal customers by creating disciplined processes that constantly and repeatedly convey the message that the client is the most important person. The best leaders apply the same systematic intentionality to their relationships with team members.
Own Your Mistakes. Never be afraid to apologize for a mistake or mishap, even when it is not your direct fault. As a leader, you are responsible for all that happens in your organization or team. Own your failures just like you own your achievements.
Go the Extra Mile. If you only fulfill expectations, you get satisfied followers. Why not wow them by going above and beyond expectations in your service to them.
Keep Your Word. Integrity is essential for loyalty, and loyalty is founded on trust. As Jesus Himself taught us, make sure your “yes” means “yes.”
I once read that a disgruntled customer takes away five other buyers from the business that displeased them. Of course, the opposite is also true, for leadership as it is for sales and customer service. Talented, excellent and loyal followers will attract the same quality persons to your team, adding value to your leadership, and moving you closer to the vision God has given you. So, are you ready to begin making these practices a reality in your leadership?