Have You Tried These Unconventional Leadership Tactics?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Whether you’re managing a sales team or a development team, you may feel like there are times when you’re speaking the wrong language. Your tactics for motivating team members may work most of the time. But, what do you do about the team members you can’t seem to reach? You know they’re talented, but they aren’t getting the job done. When you’re faced with this kind of situation, consider using unconventional tactics.

Are You Criticizing or Helping?

Kevin Davis, at Sales & Marketing Management, reminds readers that it’s often easy for a manager to come across as a critic. You may have fallen into the habit of noticing what a team member has done wrong. For example, a sales rep who consistently makes prospect calls on Monday mornings may be having a poor response. Prospects have their own agenda on Mondays, and that doesn’t include talking with sales reps. Your rep may believe they are working hard to achieve their goal by earnestly making those Monday morning calls. Ask them, as a helper instead of a manager, to try making calls at midday on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and ask them to track the outcome. When they see they are having a better outcome, they may be more willing to listen to your suggestions in the future. 

And the next time you’re tempted to criticize what your employees are doing, stop and think. Are you making a negative comment because you’re in a rush and want to achieve one of your goals? The better alternative is to offer a suggestion that will help your employees meet one of their goals.

The Work Process

Your sales reps may be having trouble getting their deals closed. The way Davis sees it, too many sales managers focus on helping their reps close the deals. While that strategy may be somewhat effective, the actual problem may lie earlier in the sales funnel. The issue may center around how well the rep has qualified the prospect. In these cases, the sales manager should take the time to walk through every step of the sales process with the rep and offer coaching where necessary.

This tactic can work in other functions of the organization. If you have a team member who is consistently failing to close out customer service issues successfully, take a step back. Shadow your team member for a morning to determine exactly how they are handling each complaint. Remember to praise the employee for what they are doing properly. Then, point out the different ways they could move the complaint to resolution. For example, maybe they need to stay focused on the issue until the proper staff member takes responsibility. Or, maybe they need to check on the ticket at specified intervals to be sure it’s being taken care of.

It’s easy to assume that team members will stay engaged and motivated after they take their initial training at your company. But, that’s not always the case. Weekly team meetings don’t take the place of individual coaching, either. That’s when it’s time to use your management skills in new ways to bring about the desired work output.