Leading from the heart is often easier said than done. In the hustle and bustle of a busy office, I’m often trapped by my own desire for success. I forget to say thank you. I forget to show appreciation and I forget that our sales quota isn’t the most important thing in the world. Bottom line: Sometimes, I can act insensitively.
I’m sure I’m the only sales leader in the industry who is like this, but – just in case I’m not – I have a few tips on how to be less of a jerk who focuses only on the numbers.
The RAK System
Follow the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) principle. This may seem obvious, but doing nice stuff is nice. Every day, I try to show some kindness in a mindful way.
If someone is sick or talks about a child not feeling well, I ask him to go home and I personally see to his caseload or follow-ups. If someone mentions a desire to see a sports game or a favorite food, then I try to find a way to get tickets or I order lunch for the two of us. I don’t make them share their lunchtime with me unless they would like to; but, often, time and attention are more valuable than a meal.
I don’t keep track of RAK points per se, but I do keep track of who has been impacted – and I suggest you do the same. Don’t inadvertently show favoritism by going above and beyond for those with whom you already get along. Make sure this is a regular part of your work life and that you rotate attention.
The Pocket System
Start the day with 5-10 items in one pocket. I use cough drops or hard candy, but you can use paperclips, pennies, or anything small enough to not be a hassle. The idea here is that, every time you pay someone a compliment or do something to show appreciation, you are allowed to transfer the object to another pocket. At the end of the day, if you still have those items left in your pocket, then you weren’t as appreciative as you want to be. A simple comment is enough for me to transfer from one pocket to the other – something like, “Hey, you sounded great on that last sales call. I like the way your introduction rolls right into asking about goals.” Make sure your appreciation is specific and meaningful: A comment about nice socks won’t have the same impact.
I pre-plan my appreciation. I’m attached to my email. It’s on my phone and I’m a maniac about it. I know that managing and making a to-do list of your email isn’t ideal, but that is a topic for a “don’t be reactive to your day” blog post. In this case, I suggest planning appreciation ahead of time – and I do this by setting a calendar appointment with specific tasks to complete.
Some examples of mine are: “Leave proactive voicemails for three team members tonight before leaving – and thank them for what they do,” or, “Leave two handwritten notes of appreciation on the desks of two employees before leaving today.” I set this appointment for 20 minutes before I leave for the day. That gives me enough time to put some thought into each person and to really come up with some valid reasons to be thankful.
Conclusion: Showing Appreciation Adds Up
These three tips aren’t automatically going to make you a more caring boss; but, if you are like me – and struggle with the balance of appreciation and motivation by living the old-school motto of, “What have you done for me lately?” – then it’s time to soften up and show some appreciation. I have found that showing appreciation (even when it’s planned out like this) not only makes coaching and guiding my employees easier; it also makes my work more enjoyable. I have greater satisfaction with my work when I show appreciation – and those on the receiving end of the appreciation tend to live up to higher standards and to overperform.
If you still haven’t bought into this, and need some buzzwords to make this a priority, then you’ll be happy to know this is a win/win scenario that will impact your corporate synergy and incentivize even those we like to call “millennials.”
Sell well – and please accept my sincere thank you for reading.
Sundance Brennan is the Amazon best-selling author of The Art of SalesFu. He is a sales professional and coach with more than 20 years of experience in consumer direct sales, specializing in call center sales strategy and training. You can reach him for advice or consulting via firstname.lastname@example.org.