Your next thought is probably something like, “Um, how will I read the rest of this blog if my eyes are closed?”
Just do it.
But before you begrudgingly slam your eyes shut and wonder what the hell you’re doing, here’s the question: Who’s the best boss you’ve ever had in your sales career? Why was that sales leader the best?
I’ll give you a minute.
…and, we’re back!
With 10 years of sales experience (including some as a sales leader, myself), I have been fortunate enough to work with a couple of bosses who come to mind. But one in particular takes the prize, for many reasons. Here’s what stands out to me most:
3 Traits of the Best Sales Leader I Ever Had
I honestly don’t think this can be overstated! When a leader takes a genuine interest in your career progression, it communicates your value to him or her. It tells you that they see something in you or they have faith in your ability to be something more. Leaders who invest in their employees will, without a doubt, see a very high return on that investment. Not only are employees more engaged with the company, but mentorship helps them feel motivated to do their best work.
We’ve all seen the cute graphics on LinkedIn and other sites detailing the difference between a leader and a manager. (Oh look, there’s one in this blog!)
To be a good leader, please do not forget what it took for you to get there. And remember that not everyone is like you! People are different, so what motivates them will be unique. Leaders who take the time to learn what makes their team tick will be the most successful. I’m not saying you need to be best friends (actually a bad practice, in my opinion). But at least try to understand what drives your team and take some interest in how you can help.
This one is important to me, personally. Most people strive to have the perfect work/life balance, but realistically, it’s very difficult to achieve. I’ve learned this as both a rep and sales manager leading field reps.
But I’ve also learned that “very difficult” to achieve becomes “impossible” without trust. As a manager, when my reps wanted time off, did I always know why? No, but I trusted that they knew when it was healthy for them and would not let if affect their goals.
Being a sales leader is not easy, and at times, feels like walking a tightrope. Like being a parent, there are times when your team will dislike your decisions and not understand some of the motives behind them. But like a parent, the sales leader sets the tone for the working environment, and everyone follows for better or worse.
I suggest you set your tone by taking on these three crucial traits.
And ask yourself: Down the road, when my reps close their eyes and think of the best boss they have ever had, will I be in any of those visions? Or will I have been forgotten?