One of the biggest mistakes I see sales managers, particularly new managers, make is the view, “I can do it better myself!”
It’s easy to understand this. They were probably top performers as sellers. They probably have deep experience and great capability. That’s part of the reason they’ve been moved into a leadership role.
Many sales leaders behave as though they have a big “S” painted on their chests. They swoop in, most of the time uninvited, taking over a deal. The rationale is, “We need to win the deal, we need to hit our goals, I can do it better myself!”
And in reality, it may be true, they probably can do it better themselves. But that’s not the point! It’s not the manager’s job to close deals. It’s their job to maximize the performance of each person on their team. And they don’t do this by “doing it better themselves.”
This behavior is devastating to the organization and the manager’s own performance. Pretty soon, people stop trying, they know the manager is going to take over the most critical deals, so they just don’t bother any more. Then, the manager starts failing. They don’t have the time and bandwidth to manage every critical deal. After all, selling requires full time and full attention, imagine multiplying that by 8-10 as the manager attempts to do the deals for all their people. Soon the manager is overwhelmed and starts failing at something they have previously mastered.
And then there is everything else, people don’t raise their performance, they aren’t getting the coaching to improve, and they don’t understand why they should bother. It’s easy and appropriate to blame the performance on the manager. Alternatively, they go some place else, where they get the opportunity and coaching to reach the highest levels of performance.
Ideally, a leader takes their deep experience, coaching their people to improve their capability to execute, to effectively manage deals–ideally reaching a point where they can outperform the manager! Even if they don’t reach the same level of performance, collectively they achieve more than the manager can do themselves.
Or sometimes, we get into “tell mode.” We tell people, “Go do these things, come back and tell me what happens…..” We don’t invest in building their capability and confidence. Instead, they just become puppets, not learning how to improve, but doing only what they are told.
Our goals, as managers, are to maximize the performance of each person on the team. We want each person to be as good or, better than we were in their roles. Doing this enables everyone to grow, improve and drive higher levels of performance.
Action: Some time’s it’s frustrating, you know you can to something better than the person you are coaching. You are tempted to take over. Bite your tongue, count to 100, take a deep breath, then coach the person on how they might improve. Use your experience not to tell them what to do, but to help them learn what they should be doing and how they can become more effective. Over time, they will produce more than you can ever achieve.