Thursday, August 19, 2010

Captain or Coach

Leading a sales team is like skippering a cricket team.

When I captained cricket sides I was often fortunate to have a coach as well.

This allowed me to get on with inspiring the troops, maintaining my own performance and focusing on getting the tactics right.
As a great sales manager you know that you often have to wear both hats. Captain and Coach.

Here are 3 reasons why this can be dangerous.

1. If you are always coaching what will happen to your own numbers?
2. If you are too busy watching your own numbers what happens to your teams results?
3. Are you really appropriately qualified to be the coach?

I think you almost need to spend about half your week in captaincy mode and the other half in coaching mode.
Great captains seem to get the balance right between being soft on people yet firm on outcomes.

Captaincy in the sporting world (and no suprise its the same for sales managers) is about:

• Realising that leadership will never be a popularity contest - They dont need to like you (sure it helps). They must respect you.

• Integrity - Do your actions every day match your words?

• Reading the play. You have to almost instinctively know what the next quarter holds for each of your team.

All well and good in theory - How do I become a better captain of my team?

1.Have a long hard look at yourself tomorrow morning in the bathroom mirror. I know this can be daunting but can I suggest you do it totally naked? Might be best to lock the door. Do you look like a leader? How's your health, diet and exercise routine? Are you working too hard putting out fires? Is this effecting the way you think and act each day?

2.Spend time each week really looking closely at the results of each of your team. Forget about what they are saying. What do the results tell you. Realise that for most people change is very hard. What you are seeing now will only keep reappearing week after week. Remember the movie groundhog day with Bill Murray? If the evidence aint there accelerate their movement to the departure lounge. Hire slow, fire fast.

3. Spend more time with other leaders / captains. Talk to them about about their approach to captaincy. How do they get it right? What mistakes have they made and how have they learn't from them?

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