As a sales manager, you have a large amount of responsibility on a daily basis. You need to be able to oversee, monitor progress, and inspire high-quality work from a team of people. You need to direct and supervise your team to ensure they’re producing the best results possible. One aspect of a manager’s job is to develop relationships with the members of his sales team. It’s in these individual relationships that the role of manager and mentor can often overlap.
Beyond directing, mentoring suggests an interest in the growth of the mentee and a transfer of knowledge from the mentor to the mentee throughout the relationship. Mentoring is a great way for managers to bring out the best in each employee, and it’s a great opportunity for mentees to learn from an expert who is invested in their growth. Not all managers act as mentors, but forming these types of relationships can often be beneficial for both mentee and mentor.
How Mentoring Makes You a Better Manager
Of course mentoring is beneficial for mentees — they receive guidance and advice from someone with a wealth of industry experience. What is sometimes taken for granted is that mentoring can be beneficial for the mentor as well.
Through mentorship, a manager improves his listening skills. Managers often have a handful of things going on at one time. This can make giving our full attention to any one thing challenging. We’re listening, but we’re also thinking about the next item on our to-do list. Through regularly mentoring, a manger practices the skills of effective and attentive listening.
A mentor also practices effective communication. Talking one-on-one with a mentee and having a mentee ask questions and seek clarification requires a manager to be articulate, patient, and clear. These are all skills that can come into play when working with clients and when managing your sales team on a daily basis.
Mentoring also helps managers to gain a sense of individual team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Work can then be distributed in a way that utilizes individuals skills while also giving them opportunities to learn. A manager really can only be as good as his team; this is why mentoring, which focuses on individuals’ continued improvement and growth, can be so worthwhile.
Tips to Become a Better Mentor
A good mentor will demonstrate how to maintain a positive outlook, even in the face of challenges. A major part of mentorship is problem solving. Mentees will often come to you when they have encountered a difficulty or failed to meet a goal. It’s important that you emphasize these as learning moments and not as disappointments. Positivity is a key ingredient of motivation, drive, and success. By meeting your mentee with positivity, you’ll show them how to respond to difficulties in the most effective way.
Be willing to share
Sharing knowledge, skills, and experience with your mentee is what mentorship is all about. This goes beyond giving directions as a manager. When you step into the role of a mentor, be prepared to share from a more personal perspective. Talk to your employees about how hard you’ve worked, what challenges you’ve faced, and what you’ve learned along the way. Be honest about your successes and failures. Not only will this openness help your mentee to navigate his own career, but it will also help to establish trust and to build a rapport between the two of you.
Get to know your employees
Whether you are looking to mentor your entire sales team as a group or to work with people individually, it’s essential that you get to know your mentees. Just as you’ll be sharing from a more personal perspective, invite them to do the same. Learn their strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. Some for example, may be great at talking to potential customers but struggle when it comes to paperwork. Others may be great with numbers, but their social skills may be holding them back. Encouraging your mentees to share honestly about their experiences will allow you to offer help and opportunities where they’re most needed.
As a manager, you aren’t required to mentor your team; however, if you choose to, I think you will find that it can lead to success for the business as a whole, for your mentees, and for yourself. To have reached this point in your career, you’ve learned and experienced a lot. Mentorship gives you the opportunity to share that in a unique and beneficial way.