“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” –Warren Bennis
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” –Bill Gates
One of most reliable ways to drive consistent business growth is through competent and effective sales leaders who empower, support and inspire their respective teams to accomplish the extraordinary. To be a good leader requires the versatility to effectively fulfill a number of roles. That is, the best sales leader serves as coach, enforcer/authority figure, confidant, teammate and more. Individual sales team members must understand that they will be held accountable for execution but also be assured that the sales leader will always have their backs and support them in successfully fulfilling their roles and meeting sales goals.
However, as we all know, leaders are not born, and their development requires engagement and commitment by both the employee and the company. From the sales manager’s standpoint, it must be understood that becoming a good leader is a journey and not a destination; this a fundamental truth shared by all true leaders. That is, even the most seasoned leaders know that they must continue to evolve, to learn and “sharpen the saw”, as Steven Covey says. My experience at AT&T taught me that the commitment to leadership development must begin at the top, and is not just a sometime thing, but an integral part of the culture, embraced by everyone in the business. Enlightened business leaders understand this and utilize leadership development to create a strategic and competitive asset for the enterprise.
So, how does a business begin the process of developing effective sales leaders? It starts with the selection of the right people with the right temperament, skills, and values. And while we know that leaders are not born, the ideal candidate brings some essential traits and characteristics to the table. The following is not intended to be an all-inclusive list; nevertheless, based on my experience, here are some key characteristics of successful leaders:
– High Integrity
– People Orientation and Interpersonal Skills
– Communication and Collaborative Capabilities
– Results Driven and Competitive
– Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional Stamina
Now, once you have found candidates with the right traits and background, then the real work begins. Each Individual requires a customized development plan. That is to say that one size does not necessarily fit all, so it is critical that the business will build and implement development plans designed to instill common precepts, while working to optimize the unique talents of each manager, helping them be the best they can be.
And, just to confirm that I am clearly making my point it must be understood that, when properly managed and administered, the resources and time committed to leadership development is significant; however, the return on investment is enormous. Effective sales leaders will be the difference between meeting and falling short of attaining goals. Or, better yet, they can the difference between good results every now and then, versus great performance on a consistent and reliable basis!
To provide a competitive edge for your business in 2018, it is essential that your sales leaders have the critical knowledge to lead, support and inspire your sales team to improved performance. To help with this, I am offering a Sales Acceleration Workshop that will provide proven methods and personal insights based on more than 20 years of executive experience in sales leadership development.