Is Your Sales Manager Struggling with Impulse Control?

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Are you striving to help the hothead sales manager on your team? You know the one I mean. They snap at colleagues and employees who disagree with them. Even worse, their poor impulse control could be turning off prospects and clients they interact with. 

Struggling With Impulse Control

Sudheesh Nair reveals his struggles with impulse control in his Fast Company article. Your sales leaders have something in common with Nair. They face pressure because they’ve committed to making something happen – such as meeting a sales goal. Under pressure, they may not respond well to perceived obstacles. Like CEOs, they may not listen to coaching advice that encourages them to stop in their tracks and think about what they’re doing. Nair says, "[f]or leaders who are pushing to get things done as efficiently as possible, this tension between speed and taking a moment to reflect feels contradictory.”

What happens when your short-​fused sales manager frequently argues with other people? You can expect bad outcomes. Employees may try to avoid this person. And remember that poor impulse control isn’t limited to arguments. Your sales manager might be using a different tactic such as responding passive aggressively to an employee request via email.

Either way, employees find this kind of treatment to be a turnoff. And they know they don’t have to take it. In today’s sizzling job market for sales professionals, it won’t take long for your unhappy employees to find another position.

Your difficulties won’t end with the need to hire replacement team members. You may also find that your sales organization is getting the wrong kind of reputation. Recruiting will become more challenging.

And if your sales manager has been sharp with clients, your problems will multiply. You may soon hear of clients who are not renewing contracts with your company because they don’t want to deal with your sales manager.

Coaching for a Better Outcome

If your employees have taken psychometric assessments, you may already understand how your sales manager behaves under stress. What’s equally important is knowing whether your sales manager is also coachable. You can help a highly coachable person change their ways.

As Nair suggests, advise your sales manager to get to know the individual(s) they are having trouble with. If they are constantly frustrated with a sales rep who never seems able to close a deal, they may want to invite them to lunch. In this nonthreatening environment, they can learn the underlying cause of the rep’s poor work outcomes. The rep may need more coaching, or they may be dealing with a temporary personal problem. Either way, your manager will have formed a better connection with the rep and will hopefully "pause" before reacting negatively the next time the rep fails to come through.

Nair reports, “[w]hen a professional relationship is frayed, I’ve found it’s often because I didn’t pick up the phone or meet with someone in person.” Each time your sales manager has damaged a relationship because of poor impulse control, encourage them to meet with the employee or colleague involved. They’ll learn more about the story behind the individual, and this understanding should help them to think before they react.

Sales Manager Training

Your sales manager may also need additional training because some of their frustration and negative energy may stem from feeling overwhelmed, especially if they’ve been recently promoted to the position. A good sales manager training program will emphasize the kind of mindset they need in order to succeed. When they consciously control their use of time and develop strategies for motivating their reps and dealing with frustrations, they’ll feel more confident in their ability to succeed as a manager.

When you provide your sales managers with the right feedback and training, they will likely take the opportunity to reflect on their actions and improve their ability to control their impulses.

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.