If you're in sales, you might recognise these 5 things only bad bosses say

If you missed the comb-over hint, here’s some other tips. Picture: Warner Bros.

It’s not easy being a sales manager. Some get promoted because they were the best sales rep, others the business development manager who has the most seniority.

Worst of all is the sales person who manages their managers the best.

Good management skills need training, coaching and clear direction, and without these things, some managers simply don’t realise how poorly they perform.

The following five statements are a sure sign of ineffective management, and are likely to have a destructive effect on sales culture and team members. Hopefully, you haven’t heard them too often.

“This place falls apart without me”

Bad managers mistakenly believe that it’s a good reflection of their talents if the workplace collapses as soon as they are on holiday. In fact, it is a very poor indictment of an individual’s management skills if they cannot take time out. Good sales managers delegate their responsibilities to sales team members, create a culture of accountability rather than micro-management and make sure there are temporary succession plans in place.

“This is the way we have always done it”

History is seldom a strong justification for deciding not to change things. Tradition has its place, but all sales leaders should actively embrace change, and look for new ways to do things. Bad managers fear change, and this statement clearly indicates that the person who made it justifies his or her actions without thinking about new opportunities. This is not the sort of person who should lead other sales people. Good sales leaders are open to learning what is working right now, in an ever-changing market, especially from front-line sales people.

“If I had my way, things would change”

Bad managers would rather let their teams think that somebody else made the difficult decisions because they don’t want to upset or fall out with people. This creates a toxic sales culture of blaming others. Good sales managers should always explain their decisions, and communicate openly with their team members, but they also need to stand by their actions. Sales reps will always respect decisive leaders, even if people don’t always like the outcome. If they see the leader taking responsibility, they are more likely to demonstrate the same behaviour.

“You need to think about where your priorities lie”

Ineffective managers will often try to make people do things by playing on their emotions or basically avoid making a tough decision themselves. In the face of uncertainty, sales leaders should make a decision or offer advice, and not pass the buck on to the employee. Sales people have to manage their daily tasks, but they still need guidance and support from managers.

“You’re lucky to have a job”

Some people may think that they are lucky to have a job, especially when a company is struggling to achieve its targets or in decline, but it is damaging for a manager to say this to people. Ineffective managers try to wield their authority negatively with team members to make them work harder because they don’t know how to coach and motivate people. Good managers know that motivated teams work hard and get good results, without any attempt to bully them into gratitude.

A sales manager’s words are just as important as his or her actions, and there are some frighteningly common statements that point to an ineffective management style. This leads to a major issues with sales cultures which results in sales people looking elsewhere for stronger leadership.

The good news is that change is possible by making a choice to stop making these statements and start taking responsibility for the privilege of leading people.

Pree Sarkar is a sales recruitment expert and consults to global and start-up Software and IT Services companies. Pree is the Director of Searchcraft, which recruits top sales performers for technology companies.

This article first appeared on Searchcraft’s blog.

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