[Opinion Piece] A dozen characteristics of a great franchisee leader
Great leadership is hard to define but easily recognisable when seen in action. We can distinguish great leaders through their willingness to make a sacrifice, respond to a challenge, the excellence of a long-term game plan or how they tackle venturing into uncharted waters.
Successful leaders understand that to lead a new franchise to growth and profit, they must understand that the customer is the first and foremost priority at all times. Sean Lilley, the Marketing Manager of Scooters Pizza says to be a great leader you need to cultivate the necessary characteristics for greatness. He shares some insight:
- Leadership: It takes a certain type of individual to influence and motivate people effectively. Strong leaders take charge of a situation and express themselves directly and calmly, yet know how to act assertively under pressure.
- Interpersonal skills: Awareness of your own and others’ interpersonal skills can help enormously in bettering personal and team performance, as well as in improving employee relations and customer service, which will help build strong long-term relationships leading to happy, loyal and returning customers.
- Time Management: Poor time management will prevent the franchise from reaching its full potential so complete a course that addresses the causes of poor time keeping and not just the symptoms, and provides the appropriate solutions.
- Decision-making skills: This is a skill that cannot be learned from a book but instead is picked up through experience, accumulated knowledge, and common sense. A business owner must know when to take calculated risks and when to walk away. It is important to always weigh both the advantages and disadvantages of a problem before deciding upon a solution.
- Vision: A great leader knows where his or her franchise is going and can communicate the plan in such a way that the entire team is inspired to work towards the future plans.
- Listening skills: They listen to their employees and customers and through open and honest communication, learn from them and understand that the customer is always king.
- Respect: Leadership sets the attitude for its staff – both positive and negative. A great franchisee sees their employees as partners who will drive the success of the business, and they therefore understand the need to explain the business’ plans and strategic direction rather than just handing down demands.
- Understanding: They must understand the franchise thoroughly, which includes its challenges, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths to drive the business towards profitability and growth.
- Development: Great leaders understand the need to invest time into coaching and mentoring their employees, who need to know the ins and outs of the business so that they (and the business) can reach their full potential.
- Accessibility: Franchising is a business of partnerships and personal relationships that inspire loyalty and understanding. In addition to being accessible to staff, franchisees also need to build a relationship of trust with the franchisor who is critical in helping them to succeed in business.
- Change embracer: Successful franchisees realise that their business needs to evolve as their customer base evolves, understanding that consumers are a moving target and that attention to customer service and trends will safeguard their customer base.
- Accountability: A great leader will lead by example and will set high standards for those that work for them. The franchisee must set the standards for behaviour, work ethic, business conduct, success profiles, and more.