Episode 160:

One of the challenges for all of us as agency owners and leaders is finding the balance of creating a relationship with our employees, but also being the leader and helping them recognize their blind spots, areas of growth and when they’ve messed up.

This requires the courage to have candid conversations with your team members. It’s never easy or all together comfortable, but to truly be a leader in our agency – this is not an optional skill.

I see the avoidance of these conversations when I’m on site with an agency, when I’m on a coaching or and when I’m with a group of owners, talking about their employees. We don’t address behaviors that we know are unacceptable or not up to par. We may joke about it, or hint at it, or even deal with it passive aggressively – but we don’t tackle it head on.

We hide behind silence, email exchanges, and even through text messages – all to avoid that face-to-face conversation.

I get it — you’re afraid of what your employees’ reaction will be, or what it would do to the agency if they quit. You feel as if you’re between a rock and a hard place. So you tolerate the behavior. You make your staff and clients suffer from the behavior. You risk losing employees and clients rather than addressing it.

And worst of all — you greatly diminishing your reputation as a leader because everyone around you is wondering why you’re letting it continue. And quite honestly — they’re wondering why they should follow the rules if others don’t.

The skill of having difficult conversations and course correcting your team is vital. And we as agency owners need to get good at it.

There may be a few of you who are really great at this. You give really honest, candid, specific feedback, and you’d do it early on when you first see the behavior, attitude or bad decision, not after it’s been happening for months and months.

But for the vast majority of you, this is not your gift, but if you think avoiding difficult conversations isn’t affecting your agency…you’re wrong. You’re absolutely wrong. This is a skill that you must own if you want to grow your agency in terms of profits, respect, and your people.

And that’s why talking through how to get better at having difficult conversations with your employees will be our focus during this solocast.

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why employees become more engaged and committed when they receive honest feedback from you.
  • Why leaders who are rated the highest are the ones who most actively give and seek feedback from their team.
  • Why caring about your agency’s culture is about more than just “Beer Fridays”, the parties, or the fun. It’s about the level of candor you have inside your shop.
  • How not addressing bad behavior and course correcting an employee early on causes you to lose the respect of your team.
  • How to take and apply a sample script for starting off a difficult conversation with one of your employees the right way.
  • How to prepare yourself to have a difficult conversation with one of your employees.
  • How to apply the elements of having a difficult conversation — the pieces of doing this well.
  • How to focus on specific issues during the difficult conversation.
  • Why creating an action plan for correcting the behavior is not your responsibility – it’s your employee’s.
  • Why if you’re not having difficult conversations on a regular basis, or not celebrating your people by praising them, or coaching them so they get even better — that you’re not doing your job.

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

The Golden Nuggets:

When you avoid correcting the bad behaviors you see in your employees — showing up late to meetings, being disrespectful to team members, or not having grace with clients — it soaks into your culture and becomes the norm. - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet I totally get how intensely uncomfortable having a difficult conversation is with an employee and how it creates anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a process you can follow to help you prepare. - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet When you’re courageous enough to have a difficult conversation with an employee — from a place of caring, planning the outcomes, and wrap up with an action plan created by the employee — the conversation is actually a gift. - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet Sometimes you worry an employee will quit so you literally become a hostage because you’re tolerating their behavior. So what you’re doing is teaching bad behavior to everyone else in the shop. - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet If you don’t get the bad behaviors fixed, you’re going to lose your ability to lead your team. They’ll see that the behaviors are ignored and the cost of that is everyone will choose which rules they follow and which they ignore. - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet Your employees can’t get better without your help and feedback. You need to invest in your people. It’s more than sending them to a workshop. It's about you taking the risk of having difficult conversations. - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet

 

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Drew McLellan: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me today. I want to have a really serious conversation with you, and that’s why I wanted to meet someplace where we could have some privacy and also we could control the distractions. Honestly, I think this is going to be a tough conversation for both of us, but I want us both to remember throughout the conversation that we are on the same team and we are working towards the same goal. Getting better for ourselves, our clients and our agency, that’s what this is about for me and I know it’s what it’s about for you. It’s important for me that you know that I completely believe in you and your abilities. I know that you can be an amazing leader. So, my question for you is, are you willing to work at getting even better at that, even if it means hearing some tough feedback? There’s an area of your leadership that needs our shared attention.

 

  I have observed it for quite a while and decided that it was something that was important enough to both of us, that we talk about it. The truth is that you struggle with confronting bad behavior inside your agency. You allow some of your employees to violate your rules, like client deadlines, or you tolerate them mistreating their coworkers. You let them get away with murder and you either pretend to ignore their behavior, or worse, sometimes you joke about them behind their back with other agency employees like, Oh, look like Babbette got up on the wrong side of the bed again this morning kind of comments. And you’re better than that. Many times you do this because I think that you are afraid of the employee’s reaction or what it would do to the agency if they quit.

 

  So, I think you feel like you are between a rock and a hard place and so you tolerate this behavior, but the truth is you are greatly diminishing your reputation as a leader, and the consequences are significant. The rest of the team is watching you and they’re wondering why you’re allowing this behavior to continue. And quite honestly, they’re wondering why they should follow the rules if everybody isn’t held to the same standard. This ability to address bad behavior, to address people coming in late all the time, for sloppy work, for mistakes, whatever it may be, this skill, to be able to really talk about it and course-correct your team is a vital skill. If you’re going to keep running the agency and guiding its growth. If we don’t get this deficiency fixed, you’re going to lose your ability to lead the team. They will see that bad behavior and they’ll see that it’s ignored or at least ignored for some people.

 

  And the cost of that is, we’re going to have everyone choosing which rules they follow and which rules they ignore. The ones that are most valuable to us, the employees that are our A-players, are going to leave us to go work for a company that actually honors their values and doesn’t talk out of both sides of their mouth. If you want to grow your agency in terms of profits, respect, and your people, this is a skill and an area that must get your attention, focus and commitment. That’s how you start a difficult conversation. And that’s what I want to focus on in this solocast episode of Build A Better Agency.

 

Speaker 2: If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits, too? Welcome to Agency Management Institute’s Build a Better Agency podcast. Now in our third year of brand new insights on how small to mid-sized agencies survive and thrive in today’s market, we’ll show you how to grow and scale your business, attract and retain the best talent, make more money and keep more of what you make with 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant. Please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

 

Drew McLellan: Thanks for joining me today, thanks for listening to the solo cast. If you are a new listener, welcome, if you are a repeat listener, welcome back. One of the challenges, I think, for all of us as leaders, is finding the balance of creating a relationship with our employees, but also being the leader or the guide and helping them get even better at their job. And as the employee shortage has gotten tighter, one of the behaviors I’ve noticed in many of you, and I’ve seen it in person, I hear about it in your stories, is that you are tolerating behavior that you know is unacceptable and for many of us, that’s a really difficult thing to do. Having those difficult conversations is really hard and really uncomfortable and the truth is that you’ve convinced yourself that you can’t, or shouldn’t be giving your team honest feedback about their performance, but the truth is you don’t want to.

 

  You’re afraid, you’re uncomfortable, you’re afraid of the repercussions of that. And so there may be a few of you who are listening to this solo cast that are really great at this that you give really honest, candid, specific feedback, and you do it early in the behavior, not after it’s been happening for months and months and months. Well, if that’s you, I promise you this solo cast, probably not for you, but for the vast majority of you, this is not your gift because it’s hard, it’s scary, it’s uncomfortable. And honestly, you just don’t want to do it, so you’ve let yourself off the hook. The best thing about owning an agency is you’re accountable to no one, but the worst part of owning an agency is that you’re accountable to no one. And so, unchecked by yourself, this behavior, this avoidance of these difficult conversations will continue.

 

  And if you don’t think that it’s affecting your agency, you’re wrong, you are absolutely wrong. This is a skill and a behavior that you must own and hone. We all know that people flourish with candid assessments and input, we know that. You’ve probably read books like Crucial Conversations and Radical Candor, intellectually knowing that it’s important to do is very different than building the muscle, strengthening the muscle so that you do it better and more frequently. You tolerate a lot of bad behavior in your agencies, you grouse about the employee who can’t come to work because their pet goat is sick, or who always shows up late, or who’s disrespectful to team members, who comes late to meetings, or who has no grace with clients. But out of fear, typically, you avoid correcting all of those behaviors, so they soak into your agency’s culture instead.

 

  Again, they soak into your agency’s culture instead. If you don’t course correct this, this is going to become the norm and one person doing it turns into two people doing it, or three people doing it. You’ve got to course correct these behaviors. And if you have somebody who’s got technical skills or is good at some aspect of their job, and you allow these behaviors to continue, you’re going to end up showing that person the door, implicitly or explicitly, and you’re going to lose those skills. Research shows us that employees are more engaged and committed when they receive honest feedback. And the leaders who are rated highest in effectiveness are the ones who most actively give and seek feedback from others. Again, intellectually, we totally get it, but truth is, this is a little like the emperor’s new clothes. We all pretend to do it, we all pretend we understand how important it is, but most of you really aren’t good at this, or you don’t do it at all.

 

  I get it, I totally get it. Two-way dialogues are often intensely uncomfortable and they create a lot of anxiety prior to the conversation and during and sometimes after, on both sides of the conversation. You worry about everything from demoralizing someone or having them quit to being less popular and all of those worries are legitimate and real. So, either we avoid it altogether, or we do it through a very ritualistic, formal, stiff process, like an annual review where we use stilted, weasel word language, where we avoid saying what we need to say, or we talk about it in a very passive-aggressive way and we don’t actually address the issue. And quite honestly, a lot of times the employee doesn’t even hear it. So, the reality is, this lack of a skill on your part, this fear, giving into this fear, this costs you a great deal as an agency leader.

 

  Over time, you actually lose the respect of your team. They see the problems and they see you avoiding the problems. I’ve made this mistake. Every time that I have finally dealt with an employee issue, as I have let it go too long, especially early in my career as an agency owner, anytime I let it go too long, sooner or later, when I finally addressed the issue or, worse, back in the day when I was really lousy at this, when I didn’t address the issue and instead I was forced to finally fire this person, because I couldn’t have that conversation and I no longer could tolerate the behavior. You know what the other employees said to me every time? What took you so long? They see it, they’re watching us, they are waiting for us to take action, they want us to take action.

 

  And quite honestly, even if it’s their behavior, they want the feedback. We worry about being disliked, we worry about stumbling over our words, we worry about showing too much emotion, which by the way is not a bad thing. But when you do it with care and you do it with planning, it doesn’t have to be punitive, it doesn’t have to be super difficult, it really is actually a gift. It is a gift to the employee to give them an opportunity to be a better employee, to be the best employee they can be. And it is a gift to the rest of your employees, by creating a culture and an environment in which they want to work. It is your job to protect the whole and sometimes that means addressing a specific problem so it does not infect the whole. Sometimes you worry about they’ll quit and you are literally being held hostage by that employee and tolerating that behavior.

 

  And what you are doing is you are teaching bad behavior to everyone else in the shop. I see this particularly when it’s difficult to hire positions like web dev or senior people, you’ll let them get away with not doing their time sheets, with missing deadlines, whatever it is, because you’re so afraid they’ll walk out the door. Your employees can’t get better without your support, your help, and your feedback. You need to invest in your people and this is more than sending them to a workshop or doing lunch and learns, this is about you taking the risk of having a difficult conversation. A lot of times employees have very unrealistic perceptions of their performance, so they’re getting madder and madder in their own corner because you’re not promoting them or giving them a raise, but the reality is they have a behavior or a habit, or they are violating rules that really bind you.

 

  You can’t give them a promotion or a raise, but they have no idea. You know why? Because you haven’t talked to them about it. Mostly, this is about your lack of confidence, your discomfort, it’s not about the employee or their reaction. We use that as an excuse, but the reality is we’re not good at it. We want to be well-liked, we want to be perceived as a great boss, and we think that having candid conversations, where we’re very specific about the course corrections that need to be made, we think that those conversations diminish their view of us as a leader and the reality is, they elevate their view of us as a leader. If you actually care about your agency’s culture, it’s not just about having beer Friday or the parties or the fun, it really is about the level of candor that you have inside your shop.

 

  Again, it is about the level of candor that you have inside your shop. It should be a two-way street. So, not only should you be giving feedback, but you should be asking for feedback and that can be equally painful, but you’ve got to cultivate a culture where people know that they’re going to hear the honest truth about their performance, and can be honest with you about what they need to be successful. Worst case scenario, you keep your mediocre employees. These are the people that you are not willing to have the conversations with, that you are not courageous enough to talk to about their bad behavior. And then as a result, they don’t get better, they don’t grow and they drive away your top performers. Your A-players will not tolerate that kind of a culture. They don’t have to right now, the marketplace is too strong for them.

 

  I hope that I’m helping you understand that this is not an optional skill for you. In fact, I think it’s one of the most important skills for a leader to have, and I want you to have it. So, in a minute, I want to walk you through some of the ways that you can hone this skill for yourself, how you can do this better for both yourself and your agency. But first I want to take a quick second and tell you about three workshops that we have coming up in January. In January, we are going to be spending four days with the folks from Mercer Island Group, they are the agency search firm that match-makes agencies and brands, and on January 15th and 16th, they are going to focus their attention on the written content that we share with prospects and clients. So, that workshop is called Incoming to Income.

 

  When someone asks us for a proposal, or we’re trying to send them an email to get that first meeting, or we’re actually answering an RFP, what are the mistakes that agencies make that these guys see every day? Because remember, they’re seeing hundreds of pitches, they’re seeing a hundreds of proposals, and they’re actually going to dissect winning and losing proposals, pitches, RFP responses and they’re going to show us what won and what cost the agency that win. So, we’re going to spend two days doing a deep dive into the written side of chasing after clients, that’s January 15th and 16th. And then, on January 17th and 18th, we’re going to talk about the verbal word. So, whether you are sitting across the table from a prospect at a Panera having a cup of coffee, or you’re standing up in front of a room, giving a full on presentation as part of an RFP process, the Mercer Island Group folks are going to show us how our words and how our presence wins and loses business.

 

  And again, they’re going to take winning and losing presentations, slice and dice them, and show us what won and what cost the agency the business, that’s January 17th and 18th. You can attend either of those workshops, or you can bundle them and stay with the Mercer Island Group folks for four days. All of these workshops are at the Grand Floridian on Disney property in Orlando, Florida. And then, if that wasn’t awesome enough, the next week we have a workshop with Robert Rose. So, we’re familiar with Robert, he’s co-written several books with Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute. He now runs a company called The Content Advisory and Robert is going to show us how to future-proof our agency. What are clients asking for today around content, and how do we scale and grow our agency so that we can deliver that in a super profitable way?

 

  So, he’s going to talk a lot about how to get in the process with clients early enough at the C-suite level, so that we can really influence outcomes and messaging and also then, how you scale to actually produce the work. It’s going to be an amazing two days. I saw a two-hour version of this presentation and I cannot wait to watch him unpack it and really give us step-by-step what we’re going to do. You are going to leave that workshop with a plan for your agency of how you are going to meet client’s needs today and tomorrow. That workshop, also on Disney property, but at the yacht and beach resort. So, check out the website, go to agencymanagementinstitute.com, go under the training tab and you can find all of those workshops and register. All right, let’s talk about how we get better at this important skill.

 

  How do we get better at having these conversations with our employees? I love the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott, many of you have heard me recommend this book. If you have not read it, I strongly recommend that you do. But in the book she talks about how, to have this kind of conversation, we must both care very personally and challenge very directly. Most of us are pretty good at the caring personally part, it’s the challenge directly part that we have had problem with, but you have to do both. When you challenge directly, but you don’t care about the person, it comes off as really harsh and aggressive and honestly, this is the pattern. So, even if you are a very caring person, this is the pattern that many of you move into, because you are not willing to have the conversation. So, because you avoid having that direct conversation, all of a sudden your behavior gets a little passive-aggressive.

 

  Our employees begin to feel a little belittled, we might make fun of them in a meeting, we let other people make fun of them without correcting them. So, this passive-aggressive behavior, when you talk about an employee behind their back, yeah, it’s a joke, but if you’re asking the employee to tolerate the bad behavior by making a joke out of it, you really need to just address it instead. This behavior is rampant in agencies. I see you doing it all the time. And honestly, this is about you being a bad leader, this is about you not wanting to go to that person directly have a conversation. And so you’re hoping by joking, wink, wink about it with another employee or another leader inside your agency, that they’ll know you know about it and you’re hoping that they’re going to give you a pass.

 

  The reality is, leadership is hard. It takes risk and courage and all you’re demonstrating to your employee or the leader inside your organization is that you don’t have the courage to take the risk. On the flip side, don’t say anything mean, so some of us are that. We want to be popular, we want to be seen as the jovial agency owner, or we just hate hurting someone’s feelings. If you can’t say something nice, don’t see anything. Well, you know what? We can’t just care about our employees, we can’t always be nice. We are running a business and we have an obligation to the people inside that business and to our clients and to our families to run that business well, which means we have to challenge our employees when they are not living up to our expectations. You don’t have to hurt their feelings.

 

  And I get that you’re afraid of their reaction, but the end result again is your passive-aggressive nature kicks in. One day you just can’t take it anymore and you begin some corrective action and they’re like, Whoa, whoa, what’s going on here? Or worse, you fire them and they had no idea, and that’s on you. You need to think of this as coaching and everyone, everyone, whether it’s a speech coach or an athletic coach, we get better with regular coaching. And honestly, if you start addressing these issues when they’re small, those critical conversations become much easier. It’s when you let it go on and on and on that it just builds up inside the agency. The importance of it builds up, the impact of it builds up, and now you have to have this big, hairy conversation rather than dealing with it when it was small. Regular coaching, consistent coaching is what we need to be doing for our employees.

 

  So, in terms of praising, by the way, nobody wants a coach is always putting them down and never gives them credit for doing good work, so make sure you are publicly praising your team, praise them often. You don’t want them flinching every time they see you coming. But in terms of having a difficult conversation, you already know this, but I’m going to walk you through the elements, the pieces of doing this well, and the first one is, you have to plan the conversation. This is not a conversation to wing, this is not a conversation that you just have on the spur of the moment. You want to plan it, you want to know what you’re going to say, you want to know what the outcome is, all of that in advance. And then you want to schedule it, you want to control the context and the space of the meeting.

 

  You want to control where you have the meeting, when you have the meeting, you want to make sure that you have privacy, that you have enough time to have this conversation, that you’re in a comfortable space. Ideally, there’s not a desk in between you, so it needs to be a conversation where you were clearly both verbally and non-verbally communicating, We are on the same team, I want to work on this with you together. And that takes planning and you want to avoid distractions. Having it in the office, with a closed door where everyone knows you must be having a serious conversation, is not the place to have it. So, you can do it before work, after work, over a lunch hour, but make sure you’re thoughtful about where you have this conversation. And then, I think, the next step is you have to own the discomfort.

 

  It’s okay to admit that you’re nervous or anxious about having the conversation, because you want to be heard and you want to help and you know it’s going to be uncomfortable, just like I did in my opening bit with you. It’s okay to say, “I think this is going to be a tough conversation for us,” and then state why it’s difficult. Identify the feelings and then make it very clear why you’re having the conversation, because you are committed to this person’s success, because they are important to the agency. Be very clear about your intention and make sure you make eye contact when you’re talking about this intention. Also, during the conversation, sometimes emotions get bubbled up, the employee may get angry, the employee may start to cry, again, acknowledge those, “I see that you’re getting angry, do you need a minute to catch your breath?” Have Kleenex with you if the person you’re talking to is a crier, be ready for that.

 

  “It’s okay that you’re showing me these emotions, I know this is a difficult conversation.” Reassure them that the emotions are safe and that you understand why they’re there. Watch for signs also of them shutting down, crossed arms, looking away from you, no eye contact, pull them back into the conversation. And, in some cases, if the conversation is really intense, if you have delayed this for a long time, for example, and it’s really a tough conversation, you may need to give them some breathing room. “You know what? Let’s take five minutes, I need to run to the bathroom,” whatever it is, “And then let’s pick this back up again.” So, it’s okay to give them a little breathing space. By the way, this is not something you should do during a review, a performance appraisal, talk about compensation, need to separate it from anything tied to an annual event or whatever. You want them to know that this is a very special conversation that you’ve carved out just for this purpose, just for this topic.

 

  But you don’t want to tie their hopes of getting a promotion or a raise to this conversation, because then they won’t hear you. Then make sure that you talk about the fact that you want to understand from their perspective and you want to help them get over this hump, whatever it is. So, now here’s where it gets even more difficult, as if that wasn’t hard enough. Now you need to focus on the specific issues, you need to give them very tangible examples. This can’t be about I feel, or I think, this has to be, “Here’s what I’ve observed, here’s what other people have told me,” and you want to think about this in, give examples, talk about the effect of what they’re doing, talk about the change that you need to see in them, and then how you’re going to continue this conversation. So, E2C2 is the equation.

 

  Here’s the examples of what’s been going on, here are the effects on how it is impacting the team or the client or the work, so the effects or the evidence, if you will. Then you are going to talk about the change that needs to come, and then how are we going to continue this conversation? So, when you call in sick at the very last minute, which you did last Tuesday because of this or last Wednesday because of this, or when you are talking to Bob in this way, and here’s what you said to him, and here’s the tone of voice you used, the effect is, the team is less confident in your abilities, or they don’t want to put you on the project, or whatever it is. So, here’s the change that we need to work on together, and then talk about how you want them to change their behavior, their attitude, whatever it is.

 

  And then you talk about when you’re going to get back together again or what the plan is. So, during this conversation, you have to be really good about accepting no blame and no excuses. So, if they start to tell you why something has happened, say, “You know what, I understand that there may be reasons why this is happening and it really doesn’t matter why, it matters that we course-correct the behavior.” So, no blame, no excuses. And then you need to wrap up by making sure that there is a concrete plan of action or a follow-up meeting so a plan of action can be discussed. So, in some cases, it’s going to be pretty obvious what they need to do. Show up on time, don’t blow off meetings, do your time sheets every day, whatever it is. And in other cases, it may be a more nuanced problem where they really have to think about how they’re going to course-correct the behavior.

 

  And, by the way, you don’t have to know how to solve it. You have to help them solve it, but you are not the person that’s got to have the answer. It might be that they have to have the answer, it might be that you have to connect them with someone else like a business coach or some other resource to get to the answer. So, do not feel like you can’t have this conversation until you know how to solve the problem, that’s not your job. Your job is to put a spotlight on the problem and help them fix it, but you don’t have to have the answer. But anyway, you want to end with a concrete plan of action or a follow-up meeting if they need time to come up with their concrete plan of action, get it on the calendar. So, remember though your feedback is the coaching.

 

  So, again, you don’t have to have every play for the game, they can come up with that. They should be coming to you with how they’re going to resolve this issue. Or you might connect them with a resource, but don’t let that you don’t have all the answers, be an excuse for you to avoid having this conversation. Make sure you get a commitment from them to the defined outcome. Do you agree, Babbette, that this has to change, and are you committed to changing it? Is this something, in terms of your professional growth, in terms of your opportunities inside the agency, that you are willing to change? Make sure you get their commitment to doing it, and then schedule the follow-up meeting. And then, most important, just like how you start the meeting is critical, also critical is how you end the meeting, so you want to make sure that you know how you’re going to end the conversation.

 

  So that’s a, “You know what, I know this was really difficult for us, it was hard for me, I was anxious about it, thank you for making it comfortable for me to talk to you about this. Thank you for being open to hear my feedback and to help me solve this problem.” Reiterate the fact that you’re committed to them, that they’re an important part of the team. And then, depending on your culture, hug them, shake their hand, whatever it is, seal the deal with your care. So, again, it might just be that you say something kind or that you reiterate your commitment to them. In some agencies, it’s going to end up in a big old hug, whatever it is, but know how you’re going to end the conversation, so it ends well. Now I know it sounds easy, and I know it’s not easy, but I want you to identify one employee that you have been avoiding talking to because of a behavior or a choice they’re making., And I want you to walk through this process and start coaching them.

 

  You have two huge jobs inside your agency, as a leader, whether you own the joint or you’re just in a leadership position. The number one responsibility for most of you is [inaudible], and then number two is mentoring and coaching your team. So, if you’re not doing this, if you’re not having these conversations on a regular basis, if you’re not celebrating your people by praising them, but also coaching them so they get even better, you’re not doing your job and I want you to be great at your job. I know you can be great at your job, and this is a skill you absolutely must possess to be great at your job. All right, that wraps up this solo cast, thanks for being with me. As always, I will be back next week, and the next week I’ll be back with a guest. So, we will be talking about some aspect of your business and how to scale and grow and make your business better, make you more money, let you keep more of the money you make, the kind of topics that we talk about every week.

 

  As always, I’d love a rating and review from you, that really helps us, and I’m really grateful for them, I promise I read every day. And if you’re looking for me, you can find me at [email protected] I’ll see you next week, thanks for listening. That’s all for this of AMI’s Build a Better Agency podcast. Be sure to visit agencymanagementinstitute.com to learn more about our workshops, online courses, and other ways we serve small to mid-sized agencies. Don’t forget to subscribe to day so you don’t miss an episode.