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Sales Leaders - Time To Focus On Yourself

You typically praise the person who is the last to leave the office and works during weekends and holidays. That person is often the sales leader. They usually put so much time and energy into their team that they hardly have any time left to focus on themselves. Here is why you, the sales leader, should focus on yourself.

Is it You?

When your sales team isn't doing well, you may believe, "It's not me. It's the team." You may start to think that if you only had A-list players or superstars, you would be hitting higher revenue goals. That may be true.

However, if you look at the mass population, you'll see that only a handful of superstars are out there. Even superstars like Tiger Woods have a coach. So, it's up to you as their coach to grow and learn with them, starting with yourself.

Teams are Built on Difference

You may disagree that every salesperson is a superstar, but you also know the best leaders drive the best teams. The most successful sales leaders are the ones who get systems and processes into place for their team, yes, but a more significant part of that is how they lead each of the individuals on that team.

All of those individuals have different levels of experience, natural talents, baggage, strengths, insecurities, and skillsets, and they all come from various companies with diverse backgrounds. According to Builtin, "One report found millennials are by far the largest and most diverse generation in American history." That is a lot of differences in one group.

So how do you help all of these different people to be successful?

What are Your Leadership Traits?

If you want to help your team, you may want to start by looking at yourself. Do you know what your leadership style is? According to LinkedIn, there are seven prevalent types. They range from a more democratic style that's rooted in collaboration, to a more "laissez-faire" type of leader who is very hands-off and maintains a high level of confidence in their salespeople.

Your style will have several leadership traits that go along with it, such as delegation, meaning you understand the objectives you are most effective at and know when to assign responsibility to someone who is better suited to execute that objective. Another possible trait you may have is adaptability, meaning you respond willingly to the demands of the moment and problem solve, even if they pull you away from your plans.

Once you know your leadership traits, you'll be able to focus on the ones you need to strengthen. Then when you know your style, you'll understand how to use it better to develop your team.

What to Focus On

Innovative leaders understand that they are never done learning because learning is a lifelong process. You know the battlefield will always change and become more complex. So here are a few ways you can invest in yourself.

Improve Your Self-Awareness

Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective leadership in any environment. This ties in with discovering your leadership style. Emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings, and label them appropriately.

Once you understand the emotional information around you, you can guide your team's thinking and behavior or adapt to different environments. Emotional intelligence can be broken down into self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Develop Stronger Skills

Leaders rely on their abilities to help develop their teams. This becomes easier when you discover your leadership skills. If there is one skill you know you are weaker at, like accountability, try making an effort to work on it by consistently meeting deadlines, keeping appointments, and ending meetings on time.

If you set up tasks that are designed to improve your weaker skills, you'll be able to grow and develop them over time.

Enhance your Communication Efforts

The world has gone through a massive shift, and many of you have had to adapt in one way or another to this virtual reality. Along with it, you may have had to change your communication styles to talk to remote team members.

Within an appropriate timeframe of already existing meetings, make time to ensure objectives are clear, concise, and measurable, and that deadlines are met. Set standards for proper virtual meeting etiquette, as well as when and what tools should be used for specific types of communication.

In the End

Sales leaders lead hectic lives and often get caught up in developing their team and not themselves. However, great sales leaders realize that a good long-term return requires regular investments, even small ones, to develop themselves as well as their team.

About Mike Braun

Mike is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 30+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Mike has been a guest speaker for many groups such as University of Minnesota, MN Quality Council, and ASTD. If you want to find out more about Mike check out his profile here.
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