Lead from outside of your glass house

Sales managers complain that their salespeople don’t read, don’t study and don’t work on improving themselves as sales professionals. It’s valid criticism, says S. Anthony Iannarino, President of Solutions Staffing and a regular blogger at TheSalesBlog.com. Iannarino offers three ways that managers can help change their sales force.

Lead by example. If you want your sales force to take their personal and professional development seriously, give them an example to follow. Let them see you reading books on leadership. Let them see you reading books on sales effectiveness. Let them see you attending webinars and conferences where you learn more about leading a team and more about selling well.

Be transparent and vulnerable about your own development. Good managers quickly spot each sales rep’s blind spots (even though it’s more difficult now that so many people work from home or from remote locations). Who is close enough to help you see your blind spots? If you believe that a coach or a mentor can help the members of your sales team improve, imagine what it could do for you. Let your team know what you’re doing to get feedback on your performance and the changes that you are making to improve your ability to help them succeed in their roles.

Share what you are learning. As often as you can, share with your team the latest information that you acquired from reading, from a webinar or from a conference. Tell them the changes that you are making based on what you’ve learned. Ask them to share their thoughts and opinions on the changes you’re making, and nudge them to share what they’re reading. Ask them to share their challenges and invite them to share ideas with the rest of the group about how those challenges might be overcome.

If you are throwing stones from inside the glass house, step outside and lead your team. If you’re already way outside the glass house, make sure your team knows it.


•  What are you doing to lead your team on the personal and professional development front?

•  Do you make public all of the ways you are working to improve yourself?

•  What do you want your team to do to improve themselves? What do you do to lead the way?