Everyone at some point in time of their career aspires to become a leader and hence the abundance of research and literature about leadership, different kinds of leadership styles, roles of leaders, skills and tasks of leaders and the list goes on and on.
In this vast sea of leadership literature, I want to share my pearls of wisdom as well.
In my opinion, every one of us need to be working on ourselves to become a good leader, like everyday. This is not only beneficial when we become a leader, but will enable you to do well in your current reality as well. This is so much more important for people who are in the business of selling (influencing). Each one of the sales executive in essence is a leader who is leading each one of their prospect towards a vision.
Every successful leader starts their journey with an aspiration.
An aspiration that is so close to their hearts that it keeps them going when all the chips are down and nothing seems to be working.
A winning aspiration is the foundation stone on which every journey is ever built. This precedes having a vision.
Visions are born out of aspirations.
Aspirations are personal. Visions are the public expression of the aspirations.
Mediocre leaders aspire for personal ambitions.
Good leaders aspire for the teams that they lead.
Great leaders aspire for the greater good of humanity, things that others think are not possible.
Call for Action:
- Develop the habit of self reflection – meditate, journal, morning pages.
- Develop your skills of articulation – the ability to express your thoughts clearly and succinctly. Try expressing your thoughts in tweet sized communication and yet preserve the sanctity of your thoughts – Clear and yet succinct.
- As a sales leaders, aspire for what is best for you, your team, your organization and your customers.
No great deed has been done alone. Every aspiration needs a team to bring it to reality. And the only way that you can aspire and achieve great results is if you are able to inspire a group of people who would believe in the leader and his vision.
It is important that the group believe in both the leader and his aspiration. Unless this happens, the group never achieves significant results.
This all depends on the ability of the leader to inspire his team of people. Now how do you inspire people ? You need to connect with them emotionally and intellectually, and in that order.
Leaders with great vision and without the ability to inspire others are generally responsible for the grand failures that we see. They are also the people who had a lot of potential but never lived up to them.
- The best way to develop your ability to inspire is to work with small kids. If you are authentic and have their interests in heart, they are the easiest to inspire.
- Gradually, try to inspire people around you. Inspire the waitress to go attend evening college so she could graduate. Inspire your friend so he can go after his life-long dream. Inspire your spouse to take time for themselves. The more people you inspire, the better you get at inspiring.
- Most important, remain inspired. One can not inspire others until and unless they themselves are inspired.
- Selling is a tough job. With the amount of rejections that the sales executives face, it is very critical that you as the sales leader, are able to not only motivate your team but also inspire them to do bring their A-game to the team.
As they say, the night is the darkest, just before dawn. Similarly, most leaders fail at the last step. Good leaders work hand-in-hand with their team in the journey to achieve whatever the team aspires for.
By being together with them, they stay connected with the team; they know when the teams morale is wandering and can work to keep them inspired.
They win together and lose together.
Great leaders find ways and reasons to celebrate through out the journey irrespective of however tough it might get in the field. By being there with the teams, they know when it is time to
- Develop a strong work ethic – never ask someone to do something that you are not willing to do yourself; be there when someone needs you, etc.
- Look for an opportunity to celebrate people around you – Children who do chores well, spouse who has cooked a good meal, a friend who connected you to someone, a colleague who helped you in a project which was not his responsibility, a security guard who did his job well, etc. Each one of this act will strengthen your ability to find reasons to celebrate (both people and success), which will go a long way in keeping the team inspired and focused.
- As a sales leader, you need to not just direct from your office, but when required also go into the field, coach, mentor your team and prepare them to learn everything that you have learnt over your career, in a fraction of time that you took to gain this wisdom.
As you can see, one key aspect that is common across all the skills is your ability to communicate. You need to constantly communicate with yourself (reflections) and with your teams. The nature of communications might change with time but the need for constant communications never goes away.
Great leaders understand this and continuously work on their ability to communicate – with passion and clarity.
So, please, Lead us! We are ready to be led!