I know I may be dating myself but I remember an old Randy Newman song called “My Life” in which Randy in the song, speaking in the voice of Bruce Springsteen utters these words that still ring in my ears. He sang, “Randy, I’m tired of being the boss. Can you be the boss for awhile?”
Being the boss is difficult and especially so regarding managing sales people or front-line employees who have been given the chore of listening to customer problems that clients have and then selling the solutions. Of course in the service world, problems are just opportunities to serve.
Over the years I have observed a few characteristics of the mediocre sales manager. These people are definitely “tired” of being the boss and it shows through their ineffective styles of management which leads to poor results by their people. Here we begin to explore why these managers are so tired.
Mediocre Managers Are Delusional
The most common mistake that poor managers make is to over-value their team. Vince Lombardi once said that winning a championship begins with the willingness to take a hard look at your team and find your weaknesses before your opponent does. The same principle is true when trying to build a winning sales and service team.
Looking at the following simple management continuum you can begin to see the weaknesses of today’s managers. This process is timeless because it always works when you honor it. The fundamental cycle of successful management is disarmingly easy:
- Hiring the Right People
- Training Them To Be a Winner
- Coach Them To Stay On Course
- Hold Them Accountable
Many sales managers are deluded into thinking that they have the right people and rarely question it because they fall in love with their team. They let the social pressure of friendship win over demanding results. Accountability or lack of it, is usually a pathetic byproduct because most manage in fear of losing the mediocre performer rather than in coaching or removing them.
The Simplified People Test
Here is a simple test if you think you have the right people working for you. Next time you walk by the under-performing employee ask yourself if they are worth your time to coach them. If you look at that person and say to yourself, “I’ve tried everything, they will never change.” Then you have your answer. Deep inside you know you have the wrong person. The next step is to take action to either coach or remove the employee and find another who will grab the opportunity to succeed.
However, if you think you as a manger may have fallen short in one of the area of education such as training or coaching, then by all means step in a help save the person before it is too late.