It isn’t always easy to guide a sales team and be an effective leader. However, when you have a strong sense of purpose as a leader, you can focus on the things that matter most.
In many ways, the last year has taught us that you can lead your team by focusing on what is important. When you’re genuine in your leadership, it’s easier to stay on point and help your team focus—in any and every context.
Naturally, to be the best leader, it’s a time to lead by example. There’s never been a more critical time to model behaviors and align your values with your actions.
As you consider how to move forward in 2021, take a look at three core practices for great leadership. Ask and listen. Focus on practical solutions. Communicate with empathy.
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Let’s explore these key best practices for aligning your values.
Alignment is something that great leaders focus on doing in daily life. Alignment is not just for a post-pandemic time while developing a new normal. It’s an ongoing process that shapes the way you lead, encourage, and support your teams.
Ask and Listen
Great leaders are known for asking great questions – and listening closely to the answers. This is the heart of curiosity and expanding the strengths of your team. If you are seeking to get better at asking vs. telling, there’s one thing to do. Practice.
- Practice asking open-ended questions.
- Practice asking and waiting for the person to answer.
- Practice not finishing other people’s sentences.
- Practice being curious.
- Practice having an open mind while listening.
It may take a bit of work, especially if you are used to having all the answers. It can be a challenge if you’re used to commanding and telling. However, when you ask and listen, you’re doing more than meets the eye. You’re building a corporate culture of openness. This is worth its weight in gold.
So, if you are struggling with how to do this, consider getting personal sales coaching to boost your leadership skills. Don’t waste another moment trying to muscle through this critical skill on your own.
Focus on Practical and Tactical
When the world is in flux, business-as-usual is also in flux. In the last months, we’ve gotten familiar with things that we always thought were coming – but not yet. We’ve gotten used to remote working, virtual teams, and client interactions in Zoom meetings.
Smart leaders are focusing on the practical and tactical needs of their sales staff. This is a time to nail down the details of how to work in a turbulent environment. As people head back to offices, there are further issues to navigate.
As a sales leader, focus on the structural processes that help you and your teamwork effectively. Consider holding virtual town-hall-style meetings. Ask your teams for input and suggestions. Find out what people need to stay productive, especially given the pressures of remote work, homeschooling, and care for extended families.
By focusing on practical and tactical needs, your teams can stay grounded, effective, and productive.
Communicate With Empathy
There’s no question that communication is the key trait for exceptional business leaders. It’s the single thing that helps leaders and teams stay on an even keel.
If you’re noticing that your teams could use some support, take the time to communicate with care. Show that you understand their struggles and challenges. Make an extra effort to open up your office hours to hear their needs.
Many leaders find that by having an open-door policy, they can keep in touch with the current and emerging needs of their employees.
In addition to appreciating and understanding your team’s challenges, focus on your communication style. Look for ways to build trust and strengthen rapport.
Senior leaders may find that it’s easier to speak candidly in smaller groups. If this rings true for you, find ways to meet with individual team members and leaders. Set up a weekly Zoom meeting to communicate on process issues.
Ask and listen. Focus on practical and tactical. Communicate with empathy. These three areas enable you to align your highest sense of purpose with daily behavior. With these three practices, you can guide, encourage, support, and motivate your teams to exceptional success.
This is a year when you can coach your teams to grow, learn, and thrive. As a sales leader, you develop your leadership coaching skills and transform your sales culture. Here’s to your success!