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What Makes a Successful Leader in Sales?

Lead your team to success with these traits

"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way."

- John C. Maxwell

 

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Depending on where you are in your sales career, you may already have a mentor or a boss that you look up to. Even if you are still building your sales career path, you may already have come across some individuals you respect based on research, podcasts or books. What skills and traits do you respect most? Do you try to use them within your own leadership style? How do you define your leadership approach? Do your peers think you are a good leader? More importantly, does your sales team think you are a good leader?

 

These are all questions that nearly everyone deals with on a day-to-day basis, no matter what the role or responsibility level. Each of us – from the top down – manages relationships with co-workers, bosses, superiors, outside vendors, interns and every other level of the organizational structure throughout our career journey. How we handle these relationships and make an impact around us is what defines our leadership skills and style.

 

Do you have a mentor or boss that you look up to? What characteristics do you admire in them? Which skills and traits do you try and use within your own leadership style? How do you define your leadership style? Are you a good leader?

 

Improve Your Leadership Skills:

 

According to David Williams, contributor at Forbes.com, there are 4 key principles that great leaders employ: Respect, Trust, Responsibility, and Courage.

 

How would you define these words? Do you employ them in your skill set?

 

Respect

 

Do you command respect? Does your sales team respect your decisions, ideas and opinions? How you interact and communicate with your sales group greatly impacts respect. Strive to be a leader, or co-leader, who respects each individual person on your team. This doesn’t mean you are perfect all the time. Commit to treating your team and your clients with transparency and care. When people feel respected by their managers, they are more likely to trust the leadership team as well as the company’s strategy. When your sales team is invested in your company’s mission, they are invested in your company’s success.

 

Trust

 

Does your sales team trust you with the path of their careers? What about the overall projection for the company? Do you trust your employees to get their projects completed on time and with quality? Trust is a two-way street with any relationship - in and out of the workplace. It is important to remember clear communication and transparency are keys to success in building and maintaining trust with your sales team.

 

Responsibility

 

A leader must take responsibility for themselves and the people they lead. It’s easy to step up and claim responsibility when things are going well – but it also means taking responsibility when things go wrong. As a leader, you are as good as the team you lead. You oversee their development as both a sales team and individuals. Are you ready to take on that responsibility? Are your employees willing to give you that responsibility?

 
Courage

 

Finally, a leader must have courage. Things aren’t always easy – decisions are often challenging. As mentioned above, when things go wrong, you as a leader must step up and take responsibility – this isn’t easy, especially when your superiors might be involved. The times you are pressed to have courage are the times that help develop you as a leader.

 

Being a successful leader in sales isn't easy. There will be plenty of difficult moments and situations along the way. Ensuring that you are incorporating respect, trust, responsibility and courage into your daily routine will turn your sales team into a power team in no time! 

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