Someone Has To Tell You What To Do? Then You Aren’t Doing Your Job

There are some jobs that provide little opportunity to apply your resourcefulness, your initiative, and all of your abilities. A job in sales is not one of them. Selling well has never been easy, and it isn’t going to get easier any time soon. You have to bring you’re a-game.

If someone has to tell you what you need to do to produce results and do well, you aren’t doing your job.

Two Kinds of People

There are two kinds of people in business.

The first group of people works for their supervisor, their manager, or their boss. They do the work that someone else requires of them. Often the person that they work for hands them the work that they need to do, and they oblige them by doing the work. This group is responsive and they are reactive to their manager’s needs, and this may be enough to make them good and valued employees.

The other group is a very different group. They behave in ways vastly different than the first group. Instead of doing the work that is handed to them, they do the work that they believe needs to be done to produce results. It’s often the other way around from the first group: Instead of work being given to them, they create work for their manager.

This second group is proactive, they take initiative, and they identify ways to produce results and to make a difference. When they run to roadblocks or obstacles, they enlist the help of the people that work above them in getting the results that they need. This group makes work for others and that work produces results.

Both groups are necessary. But the first group doesn’t do well in sales.

Directive Orders in Sales

If your sales manager has to tell you that you need to prospect, then you are behaving as if your role in sales belongs to the first group above, the group that waits for orders and does as they are directed.

If you sales manager has to ask you to make your calls, to follow up, to work in front of deals, or to nurture the client relationships you will later need, then you are not doing the job for which you were hired.

It’s easy to find the successful salespeople in any organization by the list of tasks with their names next to them on their sales manager’s desk. The greater the number of tasks, the more likely the salesperson is succeeding. And it’s certain they belong to group two.

It’s the other way around for the first group.

Asking for Help and Feedback

It’s never wrong to need feedback, and you should ask for it when you need it. It’s also not wrong to need help. In fact, the people that are in the second group are proactive, resourceful, initiative-taking salespeople ask for help all of the time.

But it is wrong to need to be told what you need to do to produce results. It is wrong not to exercise the greatest of human attributes, your resourcefulness and creativity, your initiative, and your ability to create valuable outcomes for other people.

Deep down, you know what you need to do. Success comes from taking the action and doing it.


Do you have to be told what you need to do? Or do you know what the critical tasks and complete them and produce the outcomes you were hired to produce?

Why are independent, outcome-delivering salespeople more successful than those that need to be asked or told what they need to do?

What roles are better suited to having their tasks handed to them (if any still really exist)?

What direction do you really need from your sales manager?

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Filed under: Sales

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