Do Your Job, Not Your Subordinates

This is ninth of several blogs delving into the origin and meaning of my sales leadership “Words of Wisdom”. You can access the complete list here

“If you find yourself doing the work of your subordinates, someone will be doing your job soon.” I’ve doled out that piece of advice several times in my coaching sessions, most often with new sales leaders.

A sales leaders job is to get things done through others – and build scale. Probably the most difficult challenge for a new sales leader is the mindset transition from being an individual contributor to a manager. Running sales calls, doing proposals, completing order forms, owning deals is not part of the job. Hiring, training, supporting and empowering others to do those things is the job.

I know that sometimes a sales leader needs to do “whatever it takes” to get a deal done, make the number, etc. But if stepping in and owning it becomes a pattern, trouble is likely just down the road.

Sales leaders are expected to hit their numbers. Not once. Not every other period. Sales leaders are expected to hit their numbers every period.

The most consistent sales leaders are the ones who build great teams and scalable organizations. They are also the ones who get consideration for larger roles.

Building great teams and scalable organizations requires:

  • Hiring top performers
  • Thorough on-boarding with a high level of manager oversight
  • Expectation setting and holding people accountable
  • Building strong internal relationships
  • Reducing friction in the sales process
  • Knowing what to measure, inspect, and act upon
  • Creating a high performing culture

All of the above topics have been/will be addressed in this blog series

Knowing how to balance the tactical (driving a deal) versus strategic (interviewing) is the key to delivering consistent target attainment.

Tactical actions need scrutiny…a sales leader must be able to identify when their tactical ownership crosses the line into enabling. Simply put, enabling is doing tasks someone else should own and do.

If you are unsure if your actions can be categorized as enabling, just ask the people around you. Enablement of sales people is quite obvious to all those involved with the team.

Don’t be that sales leader who rationalizes enabling as “being hands on.” You will be perceived as being over your head and an ineffective manager…and soon your boss will start looking for someone to do the job you were hired to do

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