As I shared in my post: “ Congratulations you have been promoted to sales manager…now what?” leading sales teams requires new skills you may not have acquired as a sales super star performer. Just because you were an amazing salesperson does not mean you will be a top performing sales leader. A common mistake new managers make is they put on masks of who they think they need to be to effectively lead their sales team. In this post I will share why sales leaders must learn to put on hats not masks.
“The most common mistake I see sales leaders make is they wear masks not hats.”– Mark Allen Roberts
…. let me explain.
Leading sales teams is about serving your team and helping them achieve sales goals and objectives. Often those goals and objectives are difficult and seemingly beyond reach for your people.
You cannot and will not effectively and efficiently lead your sales team until you remove the masks you developed over the years and start strategically putting on hats your teams require.
What do I mean by wearing a mask?
A mask is an adapted behavior we all use to adjust to a belief that is often not true. It is something we create to protect us.
You have seen people wearing masks many times I am sure…
The person who has to be the smartest person in the room..
The jokester who makes a joke out of everything..
The debater who has to win every argument even if they are wrong..
The intimidator, gladiator if you will..
The belle of the ball that needs to be the center of attention …
What these all have in common is they are about that person, for that person to feel safe. These masks and more were developed to protect that person from triggering a belief that makes them feel they are not safe and to avoid feeling fearful.
There are many others but what they all have in common is they are adaptive behaviors people have developed over time to protect themselves.
Would it surprise you to learn, as much as 50% of your personality was developed by the time you were seven years old? By the time you were eleven almost 90% of who you think you are and how you see the world was developed.
Over time you have experienced both positive and negative experiences. We create masks as defense mechanisms to protect us from future negative interactions. Think of a mask as you playing a role, an actor if you will in a play. You become whom you think you need to be to survive. However these masks prevent us from having authentic human interactions. Those people you deal with feel your lack of authenticity and they put on their masks…resulting in interactions that fail to discuss real issues.
Let that resonate for a minute….
Would you let an eleven year old make key decisions in your life?
Would you let a seven year old run your company? Lead your sales team?
I hear some of you saying..
“I don’t wear masks…I authentically lead my sales team”…I hear you but you are probably wrong.
Unless you have worked with a coach, discovered all those false beliefs and reprogrammed them chances are you are wearing masks.
I gave a very short speech on this deep topic recently for a toastmaster’s competition. If this idea of the masks we wear and how they interrupt and interfere with being the leader you were born to be is something you would like to learn more about you could watch my speech here.
Wearing masks interfere with leading your teams authentically and must be removed.
Masks prevent you from authentically connecting with those you serve and negatively impact you’re your team’s performance.
Just as buyers are hungry for authentic salespeople, your salespeople are hungry for an authentic sales leader.
What sales leaders, leaders in general for that matter, must do is drop their masks and understand the various hats we can and often need to wear to serve our teams.
What are the most common hats a sales leader needs to wear?
In “Developing a Leadership Style,” Alan Murray shares six styles of leadership from Daniel Goleman’s “Primal Leadership.”
I found this content on how to develop your leadership style and the various hats leaders must learn to wear very informative. If you would like to learn more I recommend you read this Wall Street Journal Article and buy the book.
Hats are about serving others, how you adapt your service based on the needs of others.
The hat you wear helping one salesperson, one employee, may be much different than the hat you wear for others.
If your true goal is to grow your organization profitably you must learn how to loose masks and put on the right hat for each leadership opportunity.
How about you?
What mask do you wear?
What hats do you feel comfortable putting on?
Are there any hats discussed above that make you feel uncomfortable? Why?
Are you letting an 11 year old run your sales team? Your company? Your life?
You were born to be great. You are destined for greatness! You have specific gifts and talents to serve others.
It is time we all must loose our masks and start wearing the right hats to authentically serve our teams.
What we are discussing here is emotional intelligence. In my speech I shared one way to help you identify false beliefs that cause you to wear masks and reprogram them.
In my next post I will share an important new book all sales leaders must have in their libraries Sales EQ, How ultra-high performers leverage sales-specific emotional intelligence to close the complex deal by Jeb Blount.
If this topic of “masks” is new to you, and you would like to learn more, I highly recommend you read the following books.