There is a seemingly infinite number of ways you can fail as a leader. Being a sales leader is no different, with varying mistakes that cause you to fail—and take your team with you.
No Sales Experience: It is challenging to lead salespeople when you haven’t done the job yourself. Selling is something that you can learn, but not by reading books or taking courses alone. You can’t coach the complex, human interaction without having experienced it yourself, just like you can not teach others to swim if you have never been in the water.
Needing to Be Liked: There is a difference between being liked and being respected. It is a mistake to want—or need—to be popular, to be a nice guy. You are not part of the group you lead, and you are not a peer. You are the exemplar, the model, and you set the standard—you don’t allow anyone to lower that standard. You enforce the standard. Your team will be what you see in them and what you demand of them.
Lack of Accountability: You can tell people what you need them to do. You can give them the mission, the mindset, the skill set, the toolkits, and the reward system for succeeding. Without accountability, you will fail as a leader because you fail your team. You cannot be a leader without ensuring that your team is doing what is necessary—and enforcing consequences for not doing so. Without consequences, there is no accountability.
Leading from Behind: You have to lead from the front. If you aren’t willing to do the nastiest, foulest tasks that needs doing, your team will not believe that it is good and right and necessary. You lead from the front, and you show your team what good looks like.
Too Little Coaching and Training: Your company is going to make demands on you that will take too much of your time. You can end up behind a desk, mired down in administrative work, all of which might be necessary, but none of which is going to improve your team’s results. Your team is going to get better through constant coaching, training, and development.
You want to be a good leader, and without reversing these errors, your team will not be what it could be with better leadership.