September 29, 2023

Sales and Marketing Advice

The power of positive leadership

Ron Stein | 5/4/2020

Mike Tyson, former world heavyweight boxing champion, once said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

You’re busy, so I’ll get right to the point: It’s highly unlikely that your team is as clear on the company’s strategy as it is in your mind. Although your “plan” seems to be going fine.

Then it happens – the unexpected. You lose a big deal the company was counting on. A top employee quits. Your competition turns on a dime and blows up the market with a new offering. Sales fall flat.

Suddenly, your priorities don’t appear to be the team’s priorities. You think to yourself that they lack clarity on where you’re leading them – they don’t fully understand how to execute your agenda. True, because you never crystalized your vision with a simple message, letting people know what they need to do.  

Instead, you overreact and start to micromanage everyone and their tasks. Worse perhaps, you imply that the team will work harder if they know they’re being watched. 

Who could have seen this coming! It's how you react to adversity that defines you, not the adversity itself.

To me, leadership boils down to communicating well to connect with others to drive performance, in a positive way. That doesn’t mean you need to be everyone’s’ friend.

Positive leaders transform teams. It’s important to be optimistic, confident, and upbeat. Yet, positive leadership goes deeper. I once had a client that exhibited these positive traits and was definitely a pleasant person – charismatic too. But I almost fell over when I caught them telling their team, “Employees are likely to work harder if they know they are being monitored. Especially because we will be working remotely it is important that managers know exactly what employees are working on.” Yikes! Of course, it’s important know what team members are working on. Yet the intention of this leader was to mandate specific tasks on specific days of the week. People felt a bit intimidated – not a very positive approach. A clearly communicated strategy, vision, and purpose along with goals will motivate individuals to achieve great things. Knowing that the leader is there to help and guide in a positive way is key. When that happens, the message becomes, “I trust you, I’m here for you, and I’m confident that the right tasks will be accomplished to lead us to the desired objectives”. 

Make every interaction count. Communicating isn’t about talking to people. The mindset of a leader is about speaking “with” people plus an emphasis on truly connecting. Even if it’s a chance meeting in the hallway while rushing to a meeting. Style is important, substance and mindset are critical. Many times, we’re busy and feel it’s difficult to take a moment and commit to making the effort. Practice may not make you a perfect communicator, but integrating it into your day-to-day interactions will deliver superpower-like leadership skills. When you have this purposeful mindset, you’ll improve you as a leader and your team will notice and appreciate the effort. Before you know it, from high-stakes meetings to casual hallway chats, attitudes will improve across the board because communicating clearly will be second nature. Plus, the entire company’s productivity will increase as everyone works with clarity and purpose. No more agonizingly long meetings to clarify priorities, goals, and messages. No more phone calls to explain emails, or emails to interpret meetings.

Constructive, helpful, encouraging, and positive – yes! Build team spirit  -- yes! But, at the end of the day you’re running a business and it falls on your shoulders to clearly communicate strategies, goals and priorities to move the company forward. 

It’s a balancing act. Trust yourself to lead positively and clearly. Trust each team member to understand the tasks needed to execute the plan you’ve laid out, and to ask for clarification when necessary. Don’t let up the pressure, but communicate clearly with a positive approach. 

People are grateful when leaders embrace transparency and a positive attitude. They make better decisions, feel less stress, and achieve greater productivity. Everyone wins – your team, your customers, and your company!


Ron is the founder of FastPath Marketing and More Customers Academy. He works with tech-enabled companies, helping them find the fastest path to revenue with executive advising, business development coaching and consulting, as well as marketing and selling training. As an accomplished tech industry business leader and entrepreneur, Ron has served in top-level sales, marketing and business development roles ranging from emerging companies to global tech giants, including as the CEO of a venture-backed wireless startup. Ron is on the advisory board of the University of Florida’s two internationally recognized tech business incubators and writes a popular column on how to grow revenue in the award-winning Florida Trend business magazine. Learn more at Ron can be reached at 727-642-4246 or by email.

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