How to Spot Bad Sales Bosses in Your Organization

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are there a few rotten apples among the managers running your sales organization? Do you know how to spot bad sales bosses in your organization? These are important questions to ask as the economy begins to thrive again and the number of employees looking for a new gig is terrifyingly high. Organizations are having a tough time recruiting right now. The last thing you need is for a bad sales manager to run off your good sales reps.

How to Spot Bad Sales Bosses

A new survey from BambooHR reveals what bothers reps about their bosses. A bad boss might take credit for an employee’s work, or they overlook the fact that the rep has too much to do. One of the biggest issues employees face, especially in companies with 25–49 employees, is that a boss won’t lobby for their reps to get more pay when they deserve a raise. Another huge issue in smaller organizations is that managers don’t give employees good direction on what they expect them to do.

If reps in your sales organization complain about being confused, sign up your bosses for sales manager training. They need to understand how to manage their time. If your bosses are new to the management role, they should also practice emphasizing an employee-​first mindset: Specifically, their job is to help their reps succeed in their positions. That responsibility means slowing down and explaining what their reps don’t understand.


Sales reps like to feel they are valued and trusted in their role. If your sales bosses are constantly micromanaging every step a rep takes, the situation will quickly become frustrating. During sales manager training, encourage sales bosses to trust their reps with small steps. Once a rep proves their reliability, managers can give them more independence.

In our Voice of the Sales Rep survey, 39% of sales professionals report leaving their positions because of a lack of opportunity. Another 25% didn’t like their manager or the way the manager worked. And 38% left because they believed the company didn’t care about them. In the BambooHR survey, researchers report that women tend to leave an organization more readily when a boss takes credit for their work (21%) and when a boss behaves inappropriately (25%). Male employees will give their notice because of personality differences (25%) or because they don’t feel motivated (12%).

Sales Skills and Psychometric Assessments

These details underscore the need for sales manager training. Managers won’t have a personality that naturally meshes with everyone else’s. But they should take the first step in understanding how each employee prefers to work. To do that, they should tap any sales skills and psychometric assessments their reps have taken. With this information, they can access details about how each rep prefers to work, what motivates them and the best way to communicate with them.

If there’s a bad boss in your sales department, help them improve their approach with sales manager training. This approach won’t always work, though, and you may need to separate the employee from the organization. In that case, you can use the opportunity to give candidates applying for the position sales skills and psychometric assessments. Use that data, along with your own judgement based on interviews, to determine whether the person you like best for the job will fit with your organization and the reps they will be managing.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels