Teamwork Rules

By Lain Ehmann

Salespeople thrive on the independence afforded them, but that me-myself-and-I attitude can be detrimental to their effectiveness in the workplace, says Cy Charney, author of The Instant Sales Pro: More Than 600 Tips and Techniques to Accelerate Your Sales Success (AMACOM, 2004). While some tasks are best handled solo, others are best tackled collectively. Here are Charney’s ideas on how to leverage your relationships with others to boost efficiency and performance.

1. Don’t pretend you’re a lone wolf. It’s okay to drop the macho attitude and let others know you rely on their support and value their input. “Salespeople do enjoy the freedom,” says Charney. “But management has changed so dramatically that a participative approach is more common.”

2. Follow the Golden Rule. When you treat others as you wish to be treated, you’re investing in the future of that relationship.

3. Don’t abuse your power. You never know when the subordinate you just ripped apart in front of the entire team will be promoted to your rank – or above. In addition, when others see you abusing your power you undermine their trust and respect, which are critical to participatory management.

4. Keep the work environment positive. Even when you’re behind the eight ball there’s no reason to motivate by verbal abuse, fear or threats. Your team will work better in the long term when they feel good about your leadership.

5. Handle things at the lowest level possible. If you’ve got a problem with a peer, work it out with them directly. It makes you both look bad if you call for mommy.

6. Don’t be afraid to do someone a favor. If you can help someone else out, do it. “One day, when you ask the favor will be returned,” explains Charney.

7. View each person as an individual. Once you identify everyone’s unique goals and show how they’re compatible with your own, your team will be that much easier to motivate.

8. Use power that everyone recognizes. Back up your organizational chart power with international currencies, such as facts, numbers, precedents, logic and legitimacy, says Charney.

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