Are You a Weak Sales Leader? Let’s Check.

Liz Ryan (Forbes Magazine) recently discussed the FIVE SIGNS that you might work for a weak manager.  Take a peek in this excerpt and see if any of these apply to you or your manager. Additionally, we recommend some FLIP’D ways to address these tendencies.

Strong managers are strong enough to lead through trust, whereas weak managers have to use the force of their job titles to make people listen to them. – Liz Ryan

 Weak Manager Tendencies — do you recognize any of these diminishing traits?

  1. Can’t Ask for Help: When a weak manager isn’t sure what to do next, he or she won’t ask the team for help. Instead, the weak manager will make up a solution on the spot and say “Just do it — I’m the manager, and I told you what I want!”
  2. Needs a Handy Scapegoat: When a weak manager notices that something has gone wrong, he or she has one goal in mind: to find somebody to blame!
  3. Can’t Say “I Don’t Know”: A strong manager can say “I don’t know what the answer is” many times a day if necessary, but a weak manager is afraid to say “I don’t know.
  4. Measures Everything: Strong managers focus on big goals. They follow the adage “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” Weak managers get sidetracked with small, insignificant things. “Majoring in the minor,” as many call it.
  5. Can’t Say, “I’m Sorry: The last sign of a weak manager is that they cannot bring him- or herself to say “I’m sorry” when a stronger leader would. They can’t be criticized and they can’t accept feedback, however compassionate.

 While Liz’s article and these items sound very negative …

It’s most likely the leader (or even you) are not aware of these things happening in one’s management style and approach.

Here’s some thoughts on how to address them.

Transparency: Following the Multiplier’s Framework (Liz Wiseman, et al.) think about sparking a team conversation (your team or your manager’s team) around “Minimizing a Weakness and Topping off a Strength.”

Ask each participant to prepare (ahead of time) one strength and one weakness of each other. Bring these to the meeting. Start with the strengths as a round table discussion. Discuss options on how the team can leverage each other’s strengths to “top them off” and maximize this multiplier tendency. Do the same for weaknesses, except the discussion would surround mitigating that weakness, as a team. Recognizing and discussing these positive and negative traits is the first step of transparency. This might serve as the best approach if YOUR MANAGER has some of these tendencies, and you are reluctant to approach them yourself.

 Lead by Asking the Tough Questions: If you suspect that these tendencies are yours … then ask the question directly to your sales rep’s, in a 1:1 setting.

 Set the stage by saying … ” I’m going to ask you some direct questions about MY management style, and I really would like YOUR CANDID feedback. And, I really mean it … I want your honest and open feedback, so I can start the process to help you succeed here @ Salesforce, even more. Be ready for this feedback. Take it in and don’t debate it. Leverage the SBI framework — here’s the situation, my behavior was such, and the impact on the business was obvious. Then make huge strides to be transparent with the others on the team. Here’s what I’ve heard from everyone, and here’s what I’m going to do, hoping to change. Gather feedback on this regularly.

Nobody wants to work for (or be considered) a weak manager.

Focusing on characteristics that drive high performance and foster sales rep trust are key to success, especially if this is your first management gig. Take the first action step of being transparent and asking the tough questions.