In The Only Selling Guide You'll Ever Need, I started with a list of character traits that I called Mindset because I believe who you are is more important than what you do, including understood the skills that make up the rest of the book. I'm writing a book for sales managers, and I'm afraid there isn't enough room for the list that follows, even though those character traits are just as important as what is in the book.
If you are a leader, you can take a look at this list to document any responsibilities you might have that are preventing you from helping your team achieve their best results. You can also take a look at this list and measure if you're doing enough to grow in some areas that you need to improve.
Integrity: Integrity is more than being honest. It's more like having a high morality and a set of principles that guide your actions. In part, your integrity is what gives you the moral authority to lead others. Leaders who lack integrity can take on a leadership role, but they will find it incredibly difficult to lead others, especially when it comes to what is good, right, and true.
Care: The order in which you look at these character traits is very important. After integrity, compassion is second on the list. A leader should care about building the future and delivering results, but he also has to care about the people in his charge. There are no great leaders who do not care deeply about their people. The best leaders care enough about genuinely knowing their people, which enables them to improve personally and professionally.
Growth oriented: There is a difference between a manager and a leader. One of the main differences is the focus on growth. A leader will insist that the people in their charge grow up, become a better version of themselves, while growing their business and pursuing their vision.
Responsibility: Leaders are responsible for future results. They own the results for which they are responsible and they hold others accountable for their contribution to those results. The order of importance here is critical. Without taking care of others and helping others to grow, responsibility becomes much more difficult.
Credible: You have to look and act like a leader to be successful, but you also have to know what you are talking about. This character trait is, in part, how you behave, but it's also your knowledge and ability to help others deliver results. Without credibility, you reduce the likelihood of your team following.
Optimism: If there is a more difficult role than that of a sales manager, I don't know what it could be. The challenges to be overcome in order to grow are numerous. A leader should be positive, optimistic, forward-looking, empowered and empowering. In a business where there are wins and losses, moving people forward into the future requires a strong sense of optimism. When a leader is pessimistic, he projects that bias to those in his charge.
Decisive: One of the skills required of leaders is to make good decisions. While making the right decision is important for growth, it is just as important to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Recognizing that problems don't age well and making decisions to eliminate them is good leadership.
Intelligence: Leadership is difficult, in large part, because it requires strategic thinking, a vision for the future, and decision making, often without the information or certainty of an outcome. . Even though reading is old-fashioned, the best and most effective leaders have always read and studied their craft, history, and other leaders to improve their leadership intelligence.
Emotional intelligence: Who you are and how you run matters. You can have all of the attributes, but using them as a leader requires that you also have emotional intelligence. The results you produce as a leader are generated by others, making those "others" your primary concern. The higher your emotional intelligence, the better your leadership. This doesn't mean you should avoid difficult conversations or lower your standards, but how you do these things matters.
Candor: Openness is an element of honesty, an element of integrity, and an element of frankness in communication. There is an advantage for leaders who deal with matters straight and refuse to let things slip when they need to be fixed. This advantage provides predictability when it comes to your expectations and how quickly you can change beliefs and behaviors, but only if you have more than one of the attributes on this list.
Teacher: Great leaders are teachers, and nowhere is this more true than in business leadership. Leaders teach the people for whom they are responsible how to think, what to do, and how to do it. By teaching, they help others build their skills and confidence, which is the foundation for growth and improvement over time.
Example: A leader is an example, a model for others. On a flight one day I sat next to a senior sales manager who told me when hiring sales managers to lead his very large team he was looking for people that were 'crisp,' an idea that suggested they were buttoned up, pointy, smart, and put together. He wanted his team to serve as an example to those they lead, turning down people who have not already been successful in other areas of their lives.
Any list like this is ambitious. Being proficient in all of the attributes listed here is a lifetime of working on your personal and professional development. The first way to improve yourself as a leader is to recognize the areas in which you need to improve yourself and to eliminate the beliefs and behaviors that are passive.
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