Start doing these things today
After 20 years in this business, I reflected on the mistakes I’ve made. The ones I’ve made constantly that make me tell myself ‘this is where I need to get better. This is what I need to do differently.’ Having managed sales professionals for quite some time, I realized something. I was stuck in my ways. And today I want to check in with you. Are you stuck in your ways? Are you aware of the things you aren’t willing to change? As a leader, there are a lot of eyes on you. You have people who look to you for motivation and influence. They want you to inspire them and move them in the right direction. When you get into a position of leadership, that responsibility is on you. People are counting on you to grow and adapt so they can grow and reach their goals. When you become stuck in your ways, you can’t grow and the people you manage can’t grow. These are the three things that I think every leader needs to implement today to be the best version of yourself.
Ask for feedback
You have to ask for feedback. You want to ask for feedback from above as well as from below. You want to people that report to you to feel comfortable enough and confident enough that they can give you feedback so ask for it. It’s simple. Any time someone meets with you, whether you’re doing a review, a one on one, your resume meeting, you can simply say, ‘hey, can I ask you a question?’ Let them know that growing and improving as a manger is something you take seriously, and that their feedback matters to you. Are you getting everything you need for me? Are you satisfied with your job? What can I do better for you?
Likewise, when you’re asking for feedback, ask for feedback from those above you. It’s a similar approach. When you’re meeting with them, tell them that you want to improve and grow that their their feedback matters. What can I do to improve? What am I doing well? In doing this, you are telling people that I’m here to get better and receiving feedback will force you to grow.
It’s important that, whatever the feedback is, do not react. You might get good feedback, you might get bad feedback. And if you get no feedback, that’s also feedback. So tell somebody they can feel comfortable telling you the truth, get that feedback.
This could be [will be] uncomfortable
The second thing you should do as a sales leader is get comfortable being uncomfortable. Embrace it, embrace the difficult conversations, embrace the adversity, embrace all the challenges that come with the role. You cannot be in a position of leadership without experiencing discomfort. Accept it, embrace it, prepare for it and anticipate. You will feel uncomfortable at some point. The better equipped and mentally prepared you are for that uncomfortable feeling, the better you will be as a leader.
Finally, the last thing you need to do as a sales leader to constantly improve is personal professional development. Commit one hour each week, that’s it, to getting better. One hour on personal development. What’s the one hour you’re going to commit every week for you? Not for the business, not for the sales, not for your employees, not for your superiors, but for you. It could be you struggle with efficiency and Excel. It could be you struggle with efficiency and organization. It could be you struggle with time management. It could be that you yourself aren’t motivated. Commit one hour per week to just get better at that one thing that haunts you. As a sales leader, it is your responsibility to always be improving because if you’re not getting better every week, neither is your team. That’s a lose-lose for everyone.
So those are the three things I think every leader needs to implement today to be the best leader possible. And if you aren’t implementing strategies to be better today, you’re doing a disservice to the people who believe in you. From one sales leader to another, don’t take this responsibility lightly. When someone puts their trust in you, it’s an honor. If it’s a company, an organization, an entrepreneur saying ‘I trust you to lead my sales team and produce revenue’; or it’s the people you manage saying, ‘I’ve made the decision to work with you because I trust that you are going to lead me on the proper path. ‘I trust you that you’re going to help me make the money that I need to provide a living for my family.’ It’s an honor to have that responsibility, so it’s important to take that seriously.