Not every “influencer” is a high-quality leader. And often, there’s a major gap between the go-getter visionary + her ability to lead a team.

(I know this, because it’s true for me – and for so many influencers I know.)

The good news is, we can learn how to be better leaders! We can practice relationship-building with our employees and our business partnerships.

Yes, it’s A LOT of work and likely the hardest thing we’ll ever do. But my hope is that, in this episode, you can learn from my experience.

In this episode I’m detailing one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my business coach (shoutout to Alex Charfen!): Every business relationship I have should be a collaboration between us.

Of course I can offer my thoughts and opinions, but I shouldn’t be steering the ship inside conversations where I don’t have the most experience (nor should you).

Here’s a few other highlights from today’s “lesson in business”…

  • Why I only hire “experts” (+how I show up to LISTEN to them)
  • How millenials are changing the face of business relationships
  • And a few ways I’m creating better relationships with my employees

Tune in, and then head over to Instagram (@emilyhirsh) to share your biggest ‘a-ha’ moments from this episode! Comment on my latest post – or share your review inside a story!

Key Points:
[3:36] Treat every relationship in your business like this…
[5:03] Hire experts – and listen to them!
[11:50] Why you need people invested in your Big Picture
[12:34] And P.S. your millennial employees are changing the face of business
[14:27] Need help creating these relationships with your team? Try this.

If you loved this episode of the podcast, you’ll LOVE my latest masterclass – all about exploding your brand (without breaking your budget!) – even more. It’s free! Save your spot right here.

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Episode Transcripts:  

Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh, and this is the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention, innovators, influencers, creators, and game-changing entrepreneurs: your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry, and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise. We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience. With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multimillion dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. And now, we are doing the unheard of. We’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind the scenes with the Hirsh Marketing Team, and giving away the secrets to our clients’ success. Stay tuned for top converting strategy, ROI reports, and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world, and we’re the team to help.

Hello everybody. I am so excited to be here today. I’m going to talk about… I guess this will be more of a business advice, make you think about your team building and business relationships… but it’s [a topic] that I really want to talk about, because I have had a lot of experience, obviously, being behind the scenes of a lot of businesses, like hundreds of businesses. And so I’ve seen a lot of teams and leadership styles, and the way people manage, and I’ve learned a ton from that. Still do. We learn all the time. And I also know personally, growing my team… Growing your team is arguably the hardest thing that you do in your business, I think, because… just relationships, managing relationships is really hard. Being a leader is really hard, and so I want you guys to know that I think that, before I say this episode. 

Because I’ve just noticed… Okay, I’m going to be totally honest. In this community of influencers and people who are often really good at marketing and sales, there’s a really big gap between that and then them translating their skills and having good team building skills, and also treating their team well. And like I said, it’s really hard, but you have to be willing to do the work, in my opinion, to grow your team and nurture those relationships, in order to grow. And so, here’s kind of what I’m going to challenge everybody to do… First of all, hire Alex Charfen. Let me just plug that, because I was a terrible leader before Alex Charfen. I did not know how to run teams, I didn’t have team meetings.

I was terrible three years, two years ago when I met him, and he’s changed everything for me. And so I kind of wish sometimes, I’m like, “Just go through Alex’s program, and then come back and talk to me, and then we’ll have it all figured out.” But I’m really good also at pinpointing businesses and being like, “Here’s the problem. I see this problem.” I can just see problems. I think, someday I would love to actually help people with that in some way. Obviously that would be a huge distraction for me right now, but I really enjoy just going into a business and finding problems and telling them like, “Do exactly this to fix it.” And I feel like I’m really good at seeing that. And every business is broken, every business has problems. So it’s fun to go in and find them, especially when the person goes and implements and fixes them.

So anyways, here’s kind of my challenge and how I want you guys to look at treating your business relationships. And this really is especially for hiring outside companies to do stuff with you. And it’s become a requirement for us and how we position ourselves when we work with clients. And that is that you never want to be in a situation where you’re dictating everything, where you’re like, “This is what we’re going to do. Here’s how it goes. I don’t want any feedback from anyone.” And so, I’ve read a lot of books, too, about this, and how in the corporate world, that is how it is. If you’re higher up the ladder… you do what [those people] say, your opinion doesn’t really matter.

I’ve never worked in the corporate world, so I only know the experience of what I’ve read through books about it. But that’s really common, that it’s… those people higher up, they call the shots, and they don’t listen to feedback. And a lot of times people below, their opinions don’t matter. And here’s the reality, those people know better than the people higher up. And in my company, too, my people on “front lines,” my ads managers… they know more than I do, they know more than my head of the whole ads team, because they’re in it every day, all day.

And so if I created a culture where I didn’t listen to them and I didn’t allow them to feel safe being like, “Hey, why are we doing it that way?” or like, “I think we should do it this way” … I talk a lot about our all ads team meeting that we have every other week, and I just sit on that meeting on mute, and I take notes. We just had it yesterday, and I just take a bunch of notes. But I just let them tal. And the whole meeting is not structured to tell them things.

It’s structured for conversation. It’s like, we ask like, “What are we doing well? Where are we in momentum in our company? What are we doing? What do we need to improve?” And we just have open dialogue, anyone can talk, we want you to talk. And a lot of times we really try, the leaders don’t talk, we’re trying to get everybody else to talk. And it’s so powerful, I can’t even tell you. I come out of that meeting every single time with like, “I never would’ve come up with that idea or that solution if I didn’t ask them.” Like I would’ve never thought of it myself. So whether it’s a team member like an employee or an outside person that you hire, make sure that you… an outside service company… make sure you are creating a relationship where you’re constantly open to feedback, and you’re hiring people who are experts at doing that thing, whatever it is that you’re hiring for, and that you’re looking for them to tell you what to do.

Like, I am an expert at marketing, but I’m not an ads manager eight hours a day. And so my ads managers often know better than I do. And I need them to tell me what we should do or what we should fix or what’s working or what’s not working. And so, what we say to a lot of our clients… so we’ve learned this over time, that if somebody’s not willing to have that type of relationship with us, it doesn’t work. And so we screen for this in our application process, because it’s really stressful when someone’s like, “This is how we’re doing it. I’m right,” and doesn’t see it [the way you do]. And so really what you’re looking for is a relationship that feels more like a partnership, and in ways, it should also on the flip side, whoever’s delivering that service… if it’s an outside company or an employer or a subcontractor, they should be giving 110% to it.

You never want somebody to just care about clocking in and clocking out, or… Let me use our company for an example. If my team only cared about just coming in, logging into the ads manager, optimizing the ads, and logging out every day, and they didn’t see the big picture, they didn’t build a relationship with clients, they didn’t understand the business itself… it would be a huge problem. And so, when have that leadership style where… And let me be honest, I used to do it like that, and I think the reason is because you’re afraid to let go [of] control. You’re afraid to trust other people with your babies, with your business. And so, the key is, in order to build that trust, what you have to do is hire people who are better than you at what you need done…

[That’s a] mistake I made, I thought I had to train everybody to do it… a mistake I made a couple of years ago. So you want to always have relationships where it feels like a partnership, where it feels like that person is 110% invested in everything they do. They show up excited. They’re not just clocking in and clocking out. They’re not just doing the bare minimum. They’re really understanding the big picture. But you as the leader have to create the space for that. You have to create the feeling of safety for that, of collaboration. And that means if they ask you for something, you get it to them. If my team asks me for content, I’m going to do it, and I’m going to get it to them. I’m not going to be like, “No, that’s a bad idea.”

I mean, unless I really thought it was a bad idea. But if it’s like, “Yeah, let’s try it, let’s do it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. That’s great, we tried it.” So we really look for this, and so what we’ve done is in our screening process, we use this language of really… partnership, collaborative. It’s not a one-way relationship. We’re not going to be doing all the work for you and then you sit back. We’re going to be asking you for content. We are going to be asking you questions about your messaging.

We’re going to be asking you, possibly, to change your foundation a little bit, to change the back end of your funnel. And if you don’t do those things, this relationship won’t be successful. And that’s true for all relationships, they’re never one-way. And so, any team building, any relationship you have in business, you have to go in it with this, and I really encourage you, especially for your employees and immediate team, that you create the environment where collaboration is one of the core, top values you have, because it will change everything for you.

I don’t wake up feeling this really heavy weight to go solve all these problems in my business. We have problems, we always have problems, but if we have a problem, I’m not stressing out like, ” I’ve got to find the answer so everybody can fix this.” It’s like, “My team finds the answer.” They tell me the answer, and I give some feedback, because I have a really good, high up, removed vision of it, and opinions, but they’re telling me the answers. They’re solving the problems. You don’t have to have that pressure every day in your company, and you never want to be in a situation where you’re… just going to feel so stressed if you’re just telling everybody exactly what to do, and it’s a very one way relationship.

And so, I want everyone to remove any ego around this, because like I said five times already in this episode, it is the hardest thing you will ever do. And you have to be willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and growing a team and building business relationships, and all of that, and being a leader. It is the hardest thing you’ll do. You have to be willing to admit that you’re wrong sometimes. And I have no problem doing that. I have no problem being like… I say to my team all the time like, “Hey, here’s my opinion, but you call me out if I’m wrong. You better call me out. The only time I’m going to be upset is if we do something that you were thinking in your head, ‘We should not have done that,’ and you didn’t say anything.”

So I want to be called out, and I create this space where that can happen, and create the space where collaboration constantly happens. And if you do that, you will just feel so much pressure lifted off of you, because you’re not going to feel like it’s up to you to tell everybody what to do, it’s up to you to solve all the problems, it’s up to you to drive everything. That’s just terrible. It sucks when you’re in that position. And I’ve been in that position again, in small ways. Like for example, sometimes I might have a department where I’m feeling like, “Wait a second. I’m really driving this. What do I need to do here to fix that?” And either it’s the person or it’s the way I’m showing up, and I haven’t given them the opportunity to step up and do it.

And so, the summary here is, look for partnerships in everything you do, and someone that’s going to be completely invested, not just in the tactical clock in and clock out work that they do for you, but also in the big picture, and in being a visionary with you sometimes, and bringing ideas that you might not have thought of. And it’s your job as a leader to create that space. If you create that space, people will show up and act that way. But you have to create the safety-feeling to do that, and you also have to be willing to hold your end. So you have to be willing to do what you say, hold your commitments, and show up. It’s not that one way relationship where they are just… Actually, here’s a great example. I was watching a training Angela Lauria did the other day, and she was saying how a lot of the old mentality…

So what I was talking about, the old dictatorship, “at the top is always right” type of mentality… The other thing that everybody used to think then, in the factory days was, “If I pay people, they will come in and do work. And if I pay them more, they will do even better work. And it’s just the exchange of money.” And that’s not true anymore. That’s not true because of the generation. Like millennial generation, to be honest with you, has changed this in a good way where, they value their time more than money. And so, if you just say like, “I’ll just pay my employees, and they’ll come in and do the work,” and it’s this one way relationship where, “If I pay them, that’s all I have to do, and then they’ll do what I want” … It doesn’t work like that.

You have to create an environment where they’re able to fulfill their purpose and their passions, and they see value in their time, and they love what they’re doing. If they hate what they’re doing, they’re going to quit, and you’re going to hate it, and you’re going to feel so stressed out about it. And it’s so true, because, I don’t think all of our culture has caught up to this yet, because it is so old school of just like, “You listen to the top, you come in, and you clock in, and you do your work, you do your job, you get paid, and that’s what I’m here to do is get paid.” Not anymore. People are here because they value their time, they want to love what they’re doing, they want to feel challenged, they want to grow, they want to make sure they wake up happy. They value all that way more than money.

So it’s not about like, “Can I pay them more money? Can I bonus my team more, to get more work out of them?” It’s like, “I have to just step up and be a really good leader.” Which sometimes, it’s not always easy to know what to do, to do that. If you’re feeling stuck about what to do to create that environment, one thing I’ve done before is, I interviewed every ads manager on my team, because they’re the bulk of my team, for 15 minutes each, and I just asked them like, “What do you love doing? Why are you here in this world? What are you passionate about? Tell me about you.” And I learned so much from doing that, and it was just a really good relationship building thing, and it gave me some great ideas. But it also [showed] them how much I cared.

So, create those partnerships. Don’t have a one way relationship. That means you show up and do your part, and the other people that you hire, whether it’s team members, employees, subcontractors, or it’s an agency or somebody else that you’re working with that you hired to do a project or do something outside of your internal business… If you treat it that way, and you show up and do your part, they will show up and do their part. And if you create that space, and that collaboration space, it will be so powerful.

All right you guys. Thanks so much for tuning in today. If you loved this episode, please go leave me a review on iTunes or send me an Instagram message, and tell me your biggest takeaway from tuning in today. 

Thanks for listening to the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Go behind the scenes of multimillion dollar ad campaigns and strategies, dive deep into The Hirsh Process, and listen to our most popular episodes over at HirshMarketingUnderground.com. If you loved this episode of the podcast, do me a favor and head over to iTunes to subscribe and leave a review, so we can reach more people and change more lives with this content. That’s all for now, and I’ll catch you next time.