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In part one of my leadership series, I talked about the importance of connecting with your DJs in a way that makes them want to follow you.

Now, I want to address how to keep great people on your team. The answer to do so might not be so obvious. I’ll never forget how I left my day job before becoming a full time musician/DJ. I was already doing well with my part-time DJ business so it was time to leave my full-time day job and seek only a part-time day job. I went to a retail store just down the road from my house and took a job doing exactly what I wanted. After working there for 3 months, I walked into the break room and saw security camera still shots of several employees printed off and hanging on the walls.

As I got a little closer, I read the handwritten notes on each of these pictures. I couldn’t believe it! It was about as close to public shaming as you could get in a work environment. Each handwritten note attached to these pictures would say something like “John, leaning over the counter is a no-no” or “Vanessa, this photo shows you handed the change back all at once instead of counting the money back into their hands”.

I did something I never expected to do that day. I walked around the break room and took down every picture without approval from the management individual that posted them. That day I quit. There was no motivation for anyone to grow both as a person and as a professional in this environment. If this is what this company was trying to do, their strategy was a complete failure.


As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who resigned. Employees were turning in their notice every week. Leaders create GROWTH ENVIRONMENTS. People want to feel like they are on a winning team. They want to feel like they are making a contribution to that winning team. They want to feel respected. When it’s time to make a correction to their behavior or performance, a good DJ will want to grow as you make those corrections, unlike the result of the strategy of my day job I mentioned above. So how do you create an environment where your DJs are not only going to want to stay loyal to you, but also grow with you? Here are a few thoughts. Coaching. Immediate feedback is certainly valuable and you should do it on occasion, but if immediate feedback is all you do, you could be in danger of not allowing your DJs to grow on their own.

Here’s what I mean: When you go into coaching mode (not to be confused with mentoring/giving advice), you set this person up to succeed using his or her own thoughts and ideas. Coaching is being in the “present” with someone; getting on their level and going on a journey with them. For example, one of our new DJs didn’t have a ton of energy in his grand entrance delivery. I could have corrected him, but instead I found the right coaching questions to ask and more importantly, the right time to ask them. While we were hanging out during the couples private last dance, I said “You did great tonight. Were there any areas where you could have done better?” He said: “My energy.”

More on coaching ion my next installment.

Travis Wackerly is a speaker and coach for the John Maxwell Team and is the owner/operator of FCM Entertainment, a multi-op fusion-based wedding company, out of Norman, Oklahoma. He’s been a musician and entertainer for the past 20 years.

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