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Who is your favorite leader? Maybe it’s someone you worked with, or a historical Head of State who’s particularly inspired you–maybe it’s a movie character whose speeches you still tear up at. But we all have someone who immediately comes to mind. And while we can’t all readily possess the oratory abilities of a Braveheart type, there’s a piece of those great leaders that lives inside each one of us. We all have something deep down that’s capable of inspiring, encouraging, and motivating our teams. It’s just easier for some of us to access than others. Whether you’re working to hone in on the natural-born leader on your sales floor, or you see the potential in someone a little more to-themselves, there are tangible and effective ways that you can help them to be the leader their teams need today. Here are a few ways to be a sales leader and inspire your teams to be their best this week.
You’ll often hear that leaders or more of the “visionary” type than they are the “details” type. Maybe you as a business leader find yourself as someone who’s great at looking at the long term, but frequently needs to be reminded of which phone meeting is coming up next. Well, when your sales teams are in the trenches, all they’re doing is grinding away at the more trivial details. And that can be extremely debilitating if they aren’t bought into the results. For your sales teams to really engage with their work, they need to know what that work is… well, what they’re working toward. Encourage regular sit downs with your team and talk about what they want the team to look like the next quarter, or even next year. It may surprise you just how motivating that can be.
And with that vision, a salesperson is going to need a roadmap for how to get there. While the vision may be grand, it can also be paralyzing on its own. How am I possibly going to hit those kind of numbers in just six months? Equally important to the vision, align yourself to daily, weekly and monthly goals: x hours of prospecting per week, x client calls every friday, and so on. When you can coach your teams on setting ambitious, realistic goals, there’s no limit to how hard they’ll push themselves to make those goals a reality.
With all of this attention on aggressive individual goals, it’s going to be tempting for you to hover like a Millennial’s helicopter parent: you may quickly become a micromanager. But HBR describes the peril of micromanagement plainly: “Sure, such scrutiny might reveal opportunities for improvement… But tread this path too often, and any gains realized from process improvements will be offset by the deleterious effects of disengagement.” Tempting as it may be to come down hard on your employees to push toward those goals, it only alienates them from the company’s original visions. If you truly want to motivate your employees, or help your managers to motivate their teams, your surest bet is to get them bought into a vision–and then help them to believe they’re truly capable of achieving it.
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