Most sales reps focus on the skills they need for interacting with prospects and clients. Sales reps also interact with another set of people during the course of a typical week – managers and colleagues. A recent article in Psychology Today highlights how you can excel in a team environment.
Susan Whitbourne reviews the common organizational structure in today’s knowledge economy. Many workers, whether they are in sales or product development departments, work in teams. Some employees are members of multiple teams. In each case, we’re held accountable for our individual contributions. We’re also expected to contribute to the benefit of the team, as this effort leads to a stronger organization and higher overall sales.
The 'Me' In Team
Whitbourne points out that we often hear about how there is no “I” in team work. But, she notes, there is a ‘me’ in the word team. Specifically, sales reps and other employees should be thinking about the role they play on their team.
To guide your thinking on this topic, Whitbourne refers to a study published by Cristina Torrelles Nadal (Universitat de Lleida in Spain.) In this study, Nadal reviews the strengths individuals need in order to be strong team players. In some organizations, employees review themselves using agreed-upon metrics. Then, their colleagues rate them, in a process known as a ‘360 degree’ review.
Here is a list of the core areas identified as necessary for a team to operate successfully along with examples of questions used in this type of review.
Examples: Do you contribute positively to the teamwork climate? Do you feel you belong on the team?
Example: Do you get along well with others?
Example: Do you monitor your own contributions to the group effort?
Example: Do you detect conflict and collaboratively try to resolve it?
Nadal’s study reveals that most employees feel they and their co-workers are strong in the Communication metric. They also feel there is room for improvement in Regulation and Performance when it comes to themselves and others.
As you prepare for the coming year, think about establishing goals for your role as a team player. If you’ve heard about a lead that could benefit the salesperson you’re always competing with, share that information. If your usual role is to sit back and watch a conflict develop, think about ways to diffuse the conflict and encourage the contentious co-workers to get back to the project at hand.
Staying mindful of your contribution and role in any team setting can help you improve your career prospects and long-term sales.