If you’re a sales leader, you’ve got one of the toughest jobs in business: the challenge of motivating and inspiring salespeople every day to perform at their highest levels, to accomplish the one thing that most determines their success – achieving quota.
The job would be plenty tough enough if you had to deal only with the typical sales issues – helping your salespeople find new leads, get to the heart of a customer’s needs, make compelling presentations, stand out from the competition – and the all-too-often internal obstacles from your own company. You know, the sales prevention departments.
But you know you have to deal with even more. Your job is largely about dealing with people. And people can be complicated. You’ve probably read or been told that, if you can understand people better, you can be a successful manager and leader. I agree. But there’s one person I’m betting that you don’t understand as well as you need to – and understanding this person is the key to your leadership and coaching effectiveness.
There’s a good chance you don’t know yourself as well as you think. Worse, there’s a good chance that what you don’t know about yourself – your blindspots – is misleading you and your leadership. That is, you’re not simply unaware; rather, you are convinced that your way and your way of thinking is the right way. So you forge ahead.
If you want to become a greater leader and coach – or if you just want greater results from the people you lead – you’ll have to learn to confront your blindspots, which is often difficult because they’re hidden in the good stuff, making them hard to recognize. A vice in the virtue. For instance, too much passion can become an unbridled obsession, like a soccer mom or dad who forgets it’s just a game. An ambitious drive to succeed, a virtue, can become an unhealthy desire, a vice.
At the heart of great sales leadership is emotional connection. Salespeople will give more to their managers who emotionally connect with them, just as an athlete will give more to the coach who emotionally connects with her.
The problem is, blindspots prevent that emotional connection. So performance suffers.
The key to dealing with your blindspots will surprise you. You’ll have to embrace a paradox that, like many paradoxes, doesn’t seem to make any sense. This paradox cuts deep for most people. It’s a paradox about you. It’s counterintuitive.
If you’re committed to the journey, and open to the possibilities, great things await.
Mark Sellers is the CEO of Breakthrough Sales Performance LLC.