Now that you’re a sales manager, you probably will begin to see things differently. Your new position affords you a good amount of power, authority, stimulation and challenge. Not only that, it is also a chance for you to make positive contributions to your company and make your mark as a leader in the new business economy.
I wish I could tell you to do exactly this or that and everything would be perfect. Unfortunately managing people is all about working with human beings with all their wonderful differences.
There are certain things you must learn today to help you create your winning career and a high performing team that goes along with it. Here are 7 things every new sales manager, including you, could bear in mind:
1. Being part of the management team
This is something that many first-time managers forget. As a result, they still cling to their ‘old’ life as staff or team members. This cramps their ability to manage well because they tend to be more hesitant, worrying whether their former peers and buddies will accept their leadership.
Avoid these common traps yourself. As a new manager, you should know that along with your new position and title, you also have a new set of responsibilities. These responsibilities now reflect your new designation as a manager and might probably no longer include many aspects of your old job. Let go. You’re a manager and should work like one. If you don’t you will turn yourself inside out attempting to do everything and keep control.
2. Being clear about your departments goals
As a sales manager, you should know that setting goals is an important aspect of your job. Without goals and objectives, your department and certainly your company, will have no direction to follow. As a result, you get lost, make decisions with no foundations and end up with costly mistakes.
Learn to look at the bigger picture. Find out how your department can contribute to your company. Next, set your goals both for the short term and the long term. Discuss them with your team. Involve and include your team in what you want the team to achieve. That way you will get buy in. Everyone then has an idea of what is expected and then they can go to work on how they can achieve it.
Delegating is one of the things you must know and do as a manager. Yes even as a new manager Hogging too many of the jobs and keeping the tasks to yourself because:
a) you’re afraid your team members won’t be able to perform well or
b) you feel you can do the tasks better will overburden you.
As a result, you will become less productive in your own job.
Works with your team as a leader but learn to hand over tasks to team members who are best qualified for them. Showing your team that you trust them enough and value their contributions will encourage them to make the best of the opportunity you give them.
4. Empowering your team
Another important aspect of managing that every manager should know is employee empowerment. Sure, you can put up a sign that says, ‘the buck stops here’ but really, do you truly want to keep all the decision making for yourself? You’re more likely to build a strong, confident team that can perform exceptionally well if you give team members enough decision making authority to work independently. Employees like to be trusted and given the chance to prove themselves. As a result, they have more room to rise to the challenge.
5. Providing feedback
Positive or negative, it’s your job as a manager to ensure that your team members are updated about their progress. Don’t encourage your team members to second-guess your reaction or opinion about their performance. Schedule constructive feedback immediately after the completion of a project or task and perform regular one-on-one sessions with your team members.
6. Being fair
Bring balance to your judgments as a manager. Avoid playing favourites. If you play fair, your team members are more likely to trust your opinions, regardless of how effusive and encouraging or harsh they can be.
Discourage team members’ attempts at making ‘backdoor’ reports. These are often thinly-veiled gossips and personal opinions designed to sway your decisions. Often based on judgements rather than facts If you allow these activities, you encourage discontent to grow among your team. Be consistent.
7. Leading by example
Enough talking. Every manager should know that employees place a high premium on sales managers who can actually put into action whatever it is they talk about. If you want your team to come on time, meet deadlines, behave in a professional manner and work hard, show them that you, too, can walk the walk.