Top 6 Management Skills.

I have worked with terrible managers and have worked with a few that were remarkable. Those that were remarkable brought out a work ethic and creativity superior to those that weren’t in every case. Long term relationships were built and loyalty attained. What made them different? What management skills did they have that a bad manager didn’t?

 


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Bad Managers

Bad managers come in all kinds of flavors. Condescending, taking credit for themselves, terrible trainers, etc. Here are some examples of what I mean. Do you have any?

In one of my sales meetings an upper manager wanted to get a point across. He presented his example at the expense of another successful sales member. Basically it went like this – Jim did the sales process wrong but Bill not only did it right but made the deal. Great job Bill – If he was hoping for a teaching moment then he totally blew it. Jim was demoralized and lost a lot of respect that he had for this upper manager.

“The very essence of leadership has to do with meeting deep human needs on the part of followers. When these needs are met, the leader-follower connection is made and followers will walk the ninth mile for their leaders. When these needs are ignored… followers will do the minimum that is required or actually work against the goals of the leader.” – Mardy Grothe

I had worked for over a year uncovering new partner opportunities. I’m talking emails, phone calls, knocking on doors, you name it. Finally it started to pay off. As a matter of fact I hit level two in sales because of additions added. I was one of the few over quota producers during this slow market. At our quarterly meeting the VP of Sales is passing out awards and calls my name. He walks forward and is trying to hand my award to one of my peers. “He doesn’t even know who I am”. There were only nine of us. You can imagine how that made me feel.

I am always one to go the extra mile. I would work on 3 or 4 beta projects for the branch just so we could be above and better than our competition. I wrote competitive white papers that won kudos and awards. Then our VP of Sales, different one than earlier, decides to mandate “No Man is an Island”. Individual recognition went away almost immediately. They could have slapped my firstborn and not had a worst effect. Overnight I lost my motivation.

Good Managers

As I mentioned, I had written some competitive articles and was given kudos. One in particular was when a larger competitor came into the picture and we weren’t ready to compete with our product offering at that time. There was some uncertainty on how to attack the matter. I wrote in sales terms how we could beat them with our current product. My paper went within a day to the email box of the founder and CEO of the company. They implemented the ideas and I was awarded stock options from him directly. Wow. How many times do you see that happen?

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This same man would send out hand signed, sometimes with notes, birthday cards to all his 1400 employees. Months later he visited our Branch and came over to me and by name asked how things were going. Not only was I impressed but I would have done anything for this man. Pretty obvious this upper manager understood fully how to be a good one.

“Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret” – Mary Kay

In all these examples above it was critical how a manager treated an employee and a differentiator of a good one or poor one. So many times managers rely on compensation to motivate when some of the best ways to motivate is through appreciation and recognition. The number one complaint that employees have with upper managers is they “Don’t feel they care about them as a human being”. It wasn’t money! Here are some suggestions on becoming a top successful manager for your company…

Top 6 Management Skills Needed

  1. Hire talent and then get out of thier way.
  2. Managers need to listen. We all want to be listened to. Most of us consider someone listening to us as a sign of respect and even love (caring). Turn off the computer screen, don’t answer the phone, 100% attentive listening.
  3. Write a note, not email, and leave it on their desk. A quick kudo, encouragement, a goal, and/or your belief in their abilities.
  4. When employees ask questions don’t quickly answer for them. Give them the opportunity to discuss and be part of the solution.
  5. Make sure you have been clear with your goals and accountability for each of your team.
  6. Employee motivators are; Appreciation, Recognition, working with people they Like and Respect, and feeling like they Contribute to something worthwhile. Always keep this in mind when working with your teams.

Bottom line is they need to feel trusted and valued. Their voice should matter. If you find yourself leaning more to the bad manager side… make some changes. You just might end up with the team you have been desiring all along.

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Chris Lott is a business solutions consultant with over 10 year’s sales management experience including business ownership, product management and marketing. He also owns and contributes to SalesBlog! and totallysales.

 

2 thoughts on “Top 6 Management Skills.

  1. I can connect with your last point. My company has been struggling with sales commission statements for the past 18 months and it wasn’t until now that my manager even started to consider a change.

    To provide a little more information- my company simply didn’t offer a stand alone commission statement. Our commissions were tracked within the payroll department but these individual revenue streams weren’t communicated.

    My manager understood that he would be responsible to delivering these figures and didn’t want to accept the additional workflow. It turns out that a tool existed all along and this entire debate was unnecessary. I hope he is happy that we lost 3 employees in part of it.

    The tool is found at http://www.oneclickcommissions.com/lss.html

    Hope this helps.

    -Michael

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