The sales manager was speaking to his young business development representative about his results and his activity. The results weren’t there, and the activity was low, and certainly lower than the sales manager expected. When the sales manager asked the BDR why he didn’t have better results and greater activity, the salesperson told him that he was used to being held accountable for these things. Because the salesperson wasn’t being held accountable, he was coasting.
Another manager interviewed a young salesperson who decided to the leave the company. When the manager asked the salesperson what he thought might be improved, the young salesperson told his manager that he wished he would have been accountable for removing deals from this pipeline when it was clear he should have stopped pursuing them. This salesperson wanted to succeed and, right or wrong, he didn’t feel he was being effectively led.
What You Get Wrong
You might think, “People don’t want to be micromanaged.” There is no part of accountability that requires one micromanage their team, those being two very different concepts. It is a mistake to conflate accountability to micromanagement.
It’s also possible that you could believe that you shouldn’t have to impose accountability on “grown ups,” who should be capable of managing and leading themselves, especially when salespeople are given more autonomy than most other roles and should possess an equal amount of self-discipline.
There is no doubt that these is always more work to be done than there are hours in the day. You have other duties and responsibilities that require your attention and your effort. You might think that shouldn’t have to hold people accountable when you are paying them, an unhealthy belief that always limits the success of a team and the individuals that make up that team.
Accountability is a prerequisite of high performance.
Your Leadership is Required
No one ever believes their best manager was the one who accepted their mediocre performance and stayed off their back. Neglect, in all its forms, is a lack of caring, and it is something that the person being neglected feels.
If you reflect on the best leader you have ever worked for, you will recall that they held you accountable, pushing you to reach your full potential. You’ll also state that the individual you worked for prodded you because they cared about you personally and contributed to your growth and success.
If you want your people to turn in the best performance they are capable of, you will hold them accountable for just that.
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Filed under: Sales