When I look back at the best sales leaders that I had the privilege of supporting, there are two more competencies they had that I believe are important to consider.
As I’ve shared before, most salespeople don’t leave the company because of the environment or culture, they leave because of their boss. I have experienced that there’s nothing worse than working for a weak manager – not a leader, in my opinion, because they never led. Instead, they micro-managed and failed to trust their people. They were more concerned with their own image than the well-being and success of their salespeople.
This competency has more to do with how the leader is viewed by their salespeople than whether the salesperson believes the leader has their best interest at heart. In other words, is their boss a person of high integrity. The number one dysfunction of a team according to Patrick Lencioni is “lack of trust.”
When sellers second guess their leader’s motives and actions, there will be a lack of trust, which always drives the wrong behavior.
The root word for “integrity” is integer. Which means whole and undivided.
A person of integrity has strong moral principle and always asks, “Am I doing what’s right by my people?” This is a person that does what is right when no one is around. It’s not about looking good in front of their boss or their people, it’s about my actions on behalf of my team.
Leaders with high integrity are confident and sure of themselves. They will make decisions that sometimes seem unpopular, but their intention is to act on what is best for the team.
I’ve had the privilege of working with leaders of high integrity and it made me more confident in my dealings with customers because I knew I had my leader’s support.
This competency may sound easy, but there are so many distractions today with smart phones, PC’s, text messages and other communication methods that we can easily get distracted or sabotage an important conversation.
Great leaders are strong coaches to their salespeople and understand that when there is an important conversation taking place, interruptions cannot occur.
So leaders, don’t take that call, check text messages or glance at your PC!
Your attention should be on your people and what message or issue you are trying to convey. Leaders that listen well will make their time with you the priority. Quality time is what every salesperson wants. Leaders that listen well will ask relevant questions that make the conversation go deeper and have more impact.
No matter their personality style, it’s a priority for every sales leader to excel in the competencies of integrity and listening.
For those with the Blue Personality Style, integrity is consistently a priority, since they are known as the Relator. Blue leaders always value honesty with genuine and open communication. The last thing they want to do is let their salespeople down.
Those with the Gold Personality Style do well with the listening competency since they like a balanced conversation between listening and talking. The Gold Personality, being the Director, is a natural for enjoying positions in leadership.
As an Orange Personality Style myself, I enjoy talking. As a leader, I need to turn my focus to my salespeople by asking relevant questions and then listening. Oranges will be high on integrity since they never want to let their people down.
The Green Personality Style is naturally inquisitive and will ask questions which help their listening intentions. Greens are high on integrity with the priority being their expertise and wanting to give sound advice.
For a deeper dive into the four leadership styles and their competencies, get a copy of my latest book, The Relationship Selling Secret: The Sales Leader’s Guide to Empowering Your Team to Increase Their Influence and Generate More Profitable Connections.
Here’s to good selling!
© Stu Schlackman