Being a senior manager gives me one of the best opportunities out there: the ability to share what I know and make the path easier for those who come after me. I am sure that many things would’ve been easier for me, had I known some of the tips that I’m about to share.
A team will work independently more than you expect.
A manager is not a manager without their team. However, a team is still a team, even without a manager. Don’t get me wrong here: you’re important and you matter. But the sooner you realize how little intervention your people actually need when doing their jobs, the better for everyone involved.
Actually, your role isn’t to manage, per se. Your main two tasks are a) hiring strong and skilled individuals who fit well within the team and b) developing their skills further. If you then at some point come to realize that your team is doing just fine without you hovering around, it only means that you’ve succeeded in your job.
You have to get outside of the office to make it work inside of it.
True relationship building happens outside of working hours. That’s a golden rule that a manager should never forget. It’s one thing (an important one!) to maintain a good amount of face time between you and your team members, and to encourage it between the team as a whole at the office, but it’s a whole different thing to give the people a chance to get to know you and each other and to establish genuine relationships without the constant shadow of work.
If people get to know each other, their communication and cooperation will become smoother and more effective. Plan dinners, brunches, encourage team-building activities and various social events, and watch the team spirit thrive.
You need to learn how to teach first.
Not everyone is born a leader, and not everyone is born a teacher. Especially if someone is new to the whole leadership stuff, it may take a while until they also learn that lead = teach. There’s a whole bunch of learning and teaching in being a manager. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you’ll be able to start developing your team’s talent, but also to start becoming a better boss yourself.
Treat each team member as individually as possible.
A sales team is nothing other than a group of independent professionals. Each of them has their assigned role in the system, but they’re all strong individuals, and they need to be approached as such. Especially at the beginning, it’s very important to spend time getting to know the people, their strengths and weaknesses, and to build a development program for everyone individually that will help them become even better.
The bottom line of this article is: it’s not always just the numbers. I wish more junior sales managers knew that it’s all always about the people. That’s always what excellent management comes down to.