Sales leadership can make or break a sales team. Leaders are everywhere, and we love them. It’s not about their job title, it’s about the affect leaders have on other people. They inspire people; bosses push people. We call them influencers, mentors, guides, and gurus. We aspire to develop their expertise. Do you lead?
Leaders don’t want followers.
Sales leadership is about serving team goals. Sales leaders want to help people to do their best, most passionate work. They want the team to achieve their goals, each person playing their own part. It’s not about being imitated – they want their colleagues to keep succeeding, and taking the whole organization forward with them.
Leaders don’t want obedience.
They want integration and cooperation. It’s about maximizing the strengths of everyone to create the strongest possible result. Often the best idea in the room doesn’t come from the person in charge: the mentor is the one who knows to listen to it and implement it. As long as everyone is working toward the same goal, all effort is welcome.
Leaders give negative feedback in motivating ways.
If you don’t have high standards, you aren’t leading. Helping everyone on your team improve their work comes from honesty. When a colleague invites an opinion, a true influencer will praise what meets their standards, and try to understand everything else. “That’s a surprising outcome. How did you come to that decision? Help me understand your process.”
Leaders move the ball down the field.
If you’re not going anywhere, there’s nothing to lead. It’s important to focus on achieving the goal, not driving the people. A guide helps the team stay focused on the end result, and the positives that will arise from the achievement.
Are you ready to for your management team to move to the next level of leadership? Contact us. We’ll be happy to help.
Leaders don’t want praise.
They give praise. They know everyone’s name, and they use it while they thank and praise team members. Every achievement matters, and true mentors notice. When you lead, you share good news regularly, and encourage others to share praise, too. The whole team should be happy to celebrate team goals. Those celebrations generate momentum and motivation.
Leaders don’t discipline anyone in public.
Problems and discipline matters are tough on morale, and leaders keep it to themselves whenever possible. It’s no one’s business who needs what coaching and what correction. True leaders praise in public, and correct in private. One on one conversations are more likely to lead to real growth and change. Public shaming just leads to resentment.
Leaders don’t assign tasks.
They assign goals to be achieved, but don’t assign the specific behaviors to attain the results. Leaving the “how-tos” up to the individual shows trust, respect, and encourages creativity. Goals are a mutual thing; everyone moves forward. Tasks usually involve micromanagement, which is annoying and disrespectful to the team. Don’t ask someone to “type this up by 3pm.” Ask them to “complete this report and get it out to the team.” It seems like a small difference, but it instills confidence when you don’t tell your staff how to do what they do.
Leaders don’t make excuses.
They provide a foundation for everyone to do great work. Everyone in leadership has their own workload, and they make sure everything is done, on time, at the highest level of execution. They make sure everyone on the team has the resources needed to do their best work at all times. Then set an example of how to take responsibility for success, and for failure. “Sorry, Jeff. I dropped the ball on that one. What can I do to make it right?”
Leaders don’t hide their mistakes.
Mentors admit their mistakes, correct them, and learn from them. They may even share the story with the whole team to help everyone learn from the mistake. They aren’t afraid to fail – only those who try ever fail, and they encourage effort in everyone, including themselves. Create a culture of effort, not just a culture of consequences, or your team may never reach outside their comfort zone.
If you’re a boss right now, sales leadership is within reach. Make the changes listed above, one group at a time. You’ll see your team’s morale and skills improve almost immediately!
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