Dealing with the Challenges of Sales Leadership


Finding success in today’s sales market can be extremely difficult. However, finding success as a team leader in today’s market comes with an entirely different set of challenges and ones that can be difficult to overcome. Due to the naturally competitive nature of today’s sales world, many approach the task of sales leadership as being an aggressive or intensive approach. Using an aggressive approach can seem like an appropriate approach to finding success with sales leadership; however many have found that this approach does not always work. This is why many professional sales coaches are challenging leaders to take the sales leadership challenge and to approach a more ‘hands-off’ strategy to effective leadership.

For many who have been in the sales world for years, the idea of taking any type of hands off approach can seem like more than a challenge but a nearly impossible task. However, by implementing this hands off approach only in certain situations and at the right time, many will find that it can be the best way to motivate their team and to get the results they are looking for. First it is important to keep in mind that there is no way to tell how team members will react to pressure with intense or aggressive leadership tactics. They may be crumbling under pressure and underperforming due to the stress of the job, even if, as a leader, you are unaware of their reactions. While some will undoubtedly rise to the occasion this is not the approach that all will take.

The biggest sales leadership challenge any professional will face is knowing when to apply the pressure and when to be hands off and for figuring out the unique balance of leadership skills that they must use to appeal to the needs of each individual on their team. Adapting the hands off approach, when appropriate, does not necessarily mean ignoring the actions or reactions of your team members but it means leading by example. Instead of acting as their leader and issuing orders, an effective sales leader will know the appropriate times to insert themselves into the team dynamic and to get ‘in the trenches’ and work alongside their team members.

By taking on challenges, performing basic sales duties and going about your sales tasks in the way you would want your team to act, you can start leading by example without doing anything extra at all. When the pressure is off and your team members are simply able to watch you work, watch you perform and watch you lead by example in the way that things should be handled, they may be able to learn more than they could with you issuing jobs and tasks.

It may be hard as a leader to abandon the approach of engaging leading and motivating from time to time, but this is part of the challenge and if you accept this challenge you may be surprised to find out just how positive the results can be.

Doug Dvorak is the CEO of DMG Inc., a worldwide organization that assists clients with productivity training, corporate humor and workshops, as well as other aspects of sales and marketing management. Mr. Dvorak’s clients are characterized as Fortune 1000 companies, small to medium businesses, civic organizations and service businesses. Mr. Dvorak has earned an international reputation for his powerful educational methods and motivational techniques, as well as his experience in all levels of business, corporate education and success training.

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