To follow on to my earlier blog post, and the AA-ISP Annual Leadership Summit help April 20-22, our Birds of a Feather Roundtable tackled the subject of High Performing Sales Leaders. Or better titled, “How to Not Suck as Sales Leader”.
Interestingly enough, the majority of our time together, we spoke about compelling characteristics that we would follow and want to see in ourselves. Here they are in order of importance:
1. Competence – does this person know what the heck they’re talking about? Is this person a student of game and interested in mastering their craft? For example, if they’re a Sales Leader – what books are they reading, who are they networking with, what new skills are they developing?
2. Transparency – does this person share (to the extend they can as a leader) and provide a why and how? We know, in any situation and company, there is information that cannot be shared for a variety of reasons. However, secrets can make your culture toxic as the rumor mill starts in the vacuum of no-information. A true leader steps in, provides information as appropriate, and eliminates the vacuum immediately. (The side benefit being everybody is then focused on work.)
3. Authenticity – is this person genuine? Do they care about me as a person? In addition to running the team for the company? There is enough evidence out there, in addition to our own personal testimonies, highlighting the fact that people leave their bosses, not the company. We’d give our all and follow people that care about us, coach us, and mentor us. We’ll do our job for people that don’t.
The general consensus from the group was these characteristics are motivating, empowering, and provide us with confidence in our leaders. We’d follow people displaying these characteristics, run through walls for them, because these traits make it feel like more than a job.
The other interesting piece is, and one we are all familiar with, there is a BIG difference between a Leader and a Manager. This was a great discussion high lighting those differences and a great reminder for everyone at the table to be mindful of the characteristics we’re displaying.