There are many misconceptions about leadership in our society. Many believe that leadership has something to do with power, prestige, and notoriety. Others equate leadership with position – they value a fancy job title or management role at the top of an organizational chart. Some even believe their job title alone makes them a leader. These notions of leadership could not be further from the truth.
The Best Leaders
The best leaders focus on the responsibility to serve others, not on the privilege of a position. They view leadership as an opportunity to influence outcomes and inspire others – two qualities also critical for a sales professionals’ success. As a sales leader, your clients respect your insight and value your contributions when you channel your efforts into being an effective leader.
Leaders are not just born with an extra dose of charisma or a special “leadership gene.” Leadership skills are behavioral skills, which allow everyone the opportunity to become a stronger leader. In fact, the foundation of your leadership is something you can control every day. Leadership begins with your daily performance. How good are you? What can you do better? How can you raise the bar on your past success? Your performance is demonstrated by your consistent ability to meet standards and then taking the opportunity to exceed standards.
True leaders also know they are responsible for making progress and they have the courage to challenge routine and take risks when necessary. Leaders are proactive with their decisions in order to create opportunities. The most effective sales leaders are those who make the decision to take initiative.
In addition to personal performance and being decisive, leaders are also accountability seekers. When problems arise or challenges are present, leaders do not waste time placing blame, instead, they identify their role in the situation and work towards owning the problem and resolving it efficiently. This ability to be accountable allows a leader to be trustworthy, confident inspiring, and approachable.
Leaders are Problem Solvers
Leaders are also those who solve problems – they bring calm to chaos. In challenging and stressful times, leaders are the ones who can be predictable and consistent with their emotions. Leaders don’t lose their cool, they don’t scream, they resist gossip and they maintain a presence that invites the truth, even when the news you need to convey to them is bad.
As a sales professional, your organization expects you to focus on the numbers. As a leader, choose to exceed that expectation by leading those who make the numbers possible: your sales team and your clients, customers, and prospects. Leaders constantly challenge themselves by asking: Who needs my leadership – what can I do to make a positive difference in the lives of these individuals? Sales teams fail when they are managed by individuals who have limited leadership ability. Sales teams excel when every member of the team is committed to improving their leadership skills.
Ultimately, leadership is not about being complex, it is about being effective. Your ability to influence outcomes and inspire others grows when you demonstrate leadership behaviors daily in simple, but profound ways. When you take the time to be a leader, you are able to enjoy the results your leadership brings. The question is do you really know what makes a great leader? If you don’t, that is not unusual, it is not often taught. But today, it is!
There is of course a big difference between Management and Leadership. Which are you?
Find out more about true sales leadership by going to www.SalesLeadersAlliance.com. The sales leaders think tank!!