Superiority is a Career Stopper!

There are times in any leader’s career when they will believe they are superior to others. This arrogance can erupt when they’ve had sudden success or made a poor decision. Some may characterize superiority by using the old adage, get off your high horse; you aren’t as smart as you think you are.  

Beware of these characteristics:

Being defensive and refusing to listen. Ignoring facts and only talking to yourself will only provide the same information, not new solutions.

Know-it-alls. When bosses think they know more than they do and only listen to themselves, they are often surprised by the facts. They rely upon their past successes, don’t allow input, and rationalize with their excuses or sense of entitlement.

Bull-dozing. Inflexiblity, righteousness, disregarding other’s thoughts, feelings or opinions will cause unnecessary hardships on everyone.

Boat-rocking. Change for the sake of change is rarely cost effective.

Labelling others. Calling people lazy, irresponsible, slackers or stupid will limit everyone’s effectiveness and diminish a strong team.

Gossip-mongering. One of fastest ways to hurt your team is to participate in or allow gossip. Using this passive-aggressive style to alleviate one’s frustrations almost always has a boomerang effect.

You may not see yourself in any of the examples provided above. However, as a leader, there will be times when you will exhibit one or more of these traits, and others not mentioned (whether you know it or not). Superiority is a career stopper, which can be avoided when leaders, and upcoming bosses, become responsible for their managerial styles.

How can you be responsible for those times you get on your high-horse?

Listen to what others have to say. Objectively focus on what works and what doesn’t work for a project or situation. When you only listen to yourself, you lose your objectivity and competitive edge.

Talk positive about others. Gossip hurts organizations. If there are work or performance issues, talk directly to the person(s) that can get the problem resolved.

Be open to learning something you didn’t know! Know-it-alls rarely succeed in business.

Receive ideas with openness and appreciation. Creating hurdles for others to jump over or coming up with reasons, “why not”, stops even the most generous people.

Support everyone, whether you like them or not. Encourage and support others to succeed in your organization – it builds profitability and growth, both personally and professionally for you and them.

Incorporate good advice.  Listen to suggestions and facts as helpful, regardless of how they are presented.

Remember …. be open to hearing what you don’t want to hear — it could save your business or job or client.

Jeannette Seibly has been an international business and executive coach for over 20 years. She has guided the creation of three millionaires. Are you the next one?

@Jeannette L. Seibly, 2015

Got Sales Smarts?

While many companies are busy blaming the economy for their reduction in sales, smart companies are reassessing their sales teams and focusing their money and attention on top performers. Why? They often sell more – exponentially – than others. 

For the past decade, many products and services were sold to non-discriminating buyers.  Sales people did not need to learn the art of selling to make sales. Buyers often bought without first validating the functionality, legality, integration or longevity of their purchase.  (Think electronics, mortgages, bank loans, lease-options, etc.) They relied upon the sales person to tell them what they wanted to hear. Now, limited budgets are spawning much more selective consumers.

Successful sales people first learn how to deal with a buyer’s first impression, and effectively handle fear of new products or services. They understand how to work with busy people who rely upon yesterday’s experiences and overlook the value of today’s new products or services.

These top performers sell up to six times more than average sales people who do not incorporate objective data into their repertoire to facilitate the buyer’s decision making process. 

What does it take to sell more?

First and foremost: Get real about who is a top performer. We hire for job skills and fire for poor job fit. Many sales executives and business owners still rely upon their gut and other antiquated methods for determining one’s ability to sell their product or service.  Unfortunately, they falsely believe that a person’s verbal ability to talk the talk will ensure sales ability. As a result, they miss out on hiring top performers who could have made the difference between an adequate bottom line and a great financial outcome.

Use scientifically qualified assessment products and it will make all the difference in hiring the right person who can sell. You cannot fix and change someone who does not possess the right job fit skills for your sales requirements. Thinking style accounts for over 50% of a person’s success; core behaviors (can they close?) and occupational interests (do they possess up-to-date info?) round out the other 50%.

Another falsehood: We believe that high energy type people make better sales people. This myth can create many problems. 

  1. High energy is not just “younger employees”
  2. This type person can actually deter potential buyers, particularly in a long sales cycle or in developing a long-term relationship
  3. This belief is discriminatory and focuses on personality issues that statistically don’t make a difference!

Focus on sales results.  Traditionally, poor sales people have relied upon brochures, websites, credentials or social network data to sell their products or services. For many products and services, this didn’t work then, and certainly does not work now, even with the increase in web-based purchases. Buyers have become more selective, and rely upon their “relationship” with their sales rep. 

Pay attention to your sales team’s communication style. 

  • Will the person listen to the buyer’s needs and provide value-add solutions?
  • Can they quantify the product or service details vs. their competition?
  • Will they close the sale? Can they up-sell and cross-sell to address future needs?

Additional communications basics that are often missed:

  • Say please and thank you – still works. 
  • Learn proper email etiquette – it’s not hard.
  • Follow-up and follow-through — still required to get and keep customers.
  • Greet someone with the proper handshake — makes a difference.
  • Talk voice-to-voice — still required for many purchases.
  • Pronounce people’s names correctly — it’s still a must!

Do it now. Objectively assess your sales team’s ability to sell. Focus your attention and money on your top performers. Train those who have the potential, based upon the right job fit. Sales will naturally – and exponentially – escalate. 

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Superstar Clashes Getting You Down?

As a boss, it’s challenging to manage high performers. Most of these superstars know they know their stuff.   Since they believe others are less knowledgeable and less capable than they are, it sometimes taxes them to listen to others. Even their boss! 

If they’re causing you sleepless nights, most likely you aren’t the only one. As their boss, it’s up to you to manage them and their egos, to keep them engaged and growing with your company.

Look beneath the surface.  We falsely believe that if a top performer does well in one area, s/he will do superbly in other areas, too. Unfortunately, if you’re not using scientifically validated assessment products to ascertain their thinking style, core behavioral traits, and occupational interests, you may lose them. Superstars hate to fail. Provide them challenges, not to be confused with busy work, which they are quick to spot and resent.

Manage their expectations.  While you may believe your top performers are flawless, it’s not the reality. When they make mistakes, hold them accountable, just as you would any other employee. Have a come down to reality conversation focused on 2-2-2:

  • Two things they do well
  • Two very specific areas for improvements
  • Wrap-up by acknowledging two of their best contributions

Expect good people skills. Too often as bosses, we overlook our superstars’ interpersonal skills. When we step into a dispute to resolve it for them too soon, it creates more animosity between the superstar and co-workers (or clients). Instead, expect them to work it out themselves.  Wait until a situation is brought to your attention, or others complain. Then it’s appropriate for you to act.  Set a time and place for them to create a solution and work it out. Conflict resolution can be made easier when you use scientifically validated assessment products (e.g., 360-degree feedback tools focused on the job traits and not whether someone is likeable, or not) that help others see themselves objectively in relationship to others.

Money is not a motivator. While your superstars may demand more and more money, higher salaries will not provide the incentive necessary for them to continue to excel. Find other ways of compensating them based upon results (e.g., perks, vacations, gift certificates, etc.). 

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010