leadership

Lead by Example.

By Chris Lott | Management | 5702 Views | 4 Comments    

Connecting with my network for sales managers a recurring theme transpired. Managers of sales teams all over the country were frustrated with the reaction and response their team members were having to the economic challenges. In almost all cases their salespeople were not making any real changes – participating in new ideas and/or offerings – but were actually “hunkering down” to weather the financial storm. They had offered their groups new types of training as well as new offerings to broaden their appeal and success. Most didn’t take them up on the offer. Why? Maybe they didn’t lead by example?

 

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Our nature, typically, is to blame others for our failures. “I am not selling because of what others have done to the economy right? I have no control over this… so I’ll wait until things get better and then do what was successful before.” What if the recovery takes years or even decades?

“Don’t manage – lead change before you have to.” – Jack Welch

Management is not exempt from this either. As a manager it is tempting to blame our sales teams and not look in the mirror. Are we wrapping our arms around “doing things different” or are we really “hunkering down” and doing the same things we have always done? I was. Don’t get me wrong… I was training, supporting, and doing my managerial duties to the fullest. Or so I thought.

In my article Too Much Training I talk about some of my frustrations with training my team. To “punish” them I made them do the training to only find out this was a good thing for all and definitely not a punishment. It also got me thinking. I need to get “out of the box”. My team, and company, needed me to roll up my sleeves and help.

For me to sit back and “manage” as I have always done simply won’t work today. Below are a few of the changes I’ve made:

  • Serious focus and building on my personal local leads network
  • Running my own appointments, presentations, proposals, and sales
  • Making sure I am the “expert” in my field and advertising myself as such locally
  • Sharing my discoveries with my team in our sales meetings
  • Sharing all my successful marketing pieces and templates with my team
  • Building relationships and partnering with local companies

In other words I am practicing what I have been preaching. My personal success in the field, while the team felt threatened at first, is motivating them by example. I can now credibly relate with my team’s concerns or not. I am also building life-long relationships with my local community. Never a bad thing.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” –John C. Maxwell

I still manage my team in the traditional sense, one on ones, etc… And while tempting, I don’t keep the sales for myself but offer them to my hard working team members. I am not trying to prove a point but only to support and lead by example. A powerful training tool after all.

By example I have motivated my team into stretching and growing in a way I could never have achieved before. Activity is high and attitudes are coming around. Do yourself a big favor and roll up your sleeves and go to work… they will follow.

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4 thoughts on “Lead by Example.

  1. When you lead by example and keep yourself at the high bar you set, not only does your team respect you but generally they go the extra mile. Having a good culture is vital to success and sustainability. I am very fortunate to have a great boss who respects his employees and is driving a great culture.

  2. A MANAGER IS A DOER AND A LEADER SO WHAT THE MANAGER DID AND TOLD TO HIS FOLLOWER THEY DID IT BY SHOWING AND GIVING SOME INSTRUCTIONS FOR THEM TO UNDERSTAND. THIS IS FOR THE SUCCESS THEY ARE AIMING OF. TO BE WITH THEM CLOSER RELATIONSHIP IS DEVELOP AND KNOWING YOUR PEOPLE HELP IN THE SUCCESS OF THE BUSINESS

  3. Chris, Great post. This is so on target. As a sales professional nothing bothered me more than having a manager say "when I was selling I did XY&Z. It's easy to talk a good game. Nothing replaces leading by example. My question is if you where so good at selling why would you stop.

    As a sales manager I would shadow each rep. I would spend the entire day with them out in the field or on the phone. This was an opportunity to build long lasting relationship and a chance to coach and show them that you understand the challenges they face.

    For what it's worth,that's my two cents.Great job Chris keep up the good work.

    Leonard

    • Leonard… I love the comment “It’s easy to talk a good game. Nothing replaces leading by example.” I couldn’t agree more. Kudos to you and your efforts as a sales manager. I wish I could say you were the rule and not the exception. Thanks for the kind words.

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