As Angela Merkel steps down as Chancellor of Germany, we were reflecting on the respect she has garnered as a strong, authentic leader, compared to the mistrust with which many politicians are regarded. It got us thinking about what makes for an effective franchisor leader because franchisors need to lead through influence rather than control. Let's explore that together in this article.
Put simply: trustworthy, caring leadership has financial benefits.
As part of our research at FRI, we analyse the factors that influence whether franchisees will recommend your franchise, commit to staying with the business, and engage with your initiatives. We call this the ACE Mindset, and we measure it using our ACE Franchisee Satisfaction Survey.
One of the biggest drivers of the ACE Mindset is whether or not franchisees have confidence in the franchisor leadership team. In particular, whether the franchisor team is seen as trustworthy in their dealings and whether franchisees think the franchisor team genuinely cares about their success.
In one of our studies, published in the prestigious Journal of Business and Psychology, we also found that franchisees who believe the franchisor team cares about their success have higher levels of brand passion, are more proactive, deliver a better customer experience, and achieve superior financial results.
There are many ways a franchisor team can deliver trustworthy, caring leadership. Here's 10 to get you thinking.
#1: Be reliable with commitments, get back to franchisees promptly, and keep them updated on the progress of any actions you have agreed to.
#2: Be transparent with franchisees on how decisions are being made, and share relevant data and facts that support these decisions.
#3: If you cannot meet a request, just say so. Provide a straightforward but respectful 'no' with an explanation of why this is not possible.
#4: Seek input from reputable consultants when important strategic decisions are being made, and reassure franchisees you have sought top quality advice.
#5: Don't get defensive when answering pointed questions from franchisees. Remember they have a huge commercial and emotional investment in what you do.
#6: Be accessible and supportive if a franchisee is seriously in need of help. It also doesn't hurt if you are seen as trying to do the right thing.
#7: Be considerate of your franchisees as people, and check-in with them from time to time to see how they are going. Sincere phone calls are particularly valued.
#8: Be consistent in your dealings, and avoid the perception that some franchisees are favourites or are getting special benefits.
#9: Respect confidences and any sensitive personal information that is shared with you. The perception that a franchisor team engages in gossip undermines trust.
#10: At every opportunity, remind franchisees you care about their success and profitability, and continually communicate you are there to support them.
Building a healthy relationship with your franchisees takes time and knowledge. Whilst we can't give you time, we can provide you with all the necessary skills, tools and knowledge you'll need to build a profitable, healthy franchising culture. For more information about our range of courses and publications, or if you have any questions about this article, contact us today. Our friendly and knowledgeable team would be happy to assist you.
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