Sales Teams Managing The Sales Manager
How do you manage your manager? Managing upwards is one of the most underrated, yet critical skills that you can have as a frontline salesperson. It can make your direct report happier and calmer, which will, in turn, make your job easier, more peaceful, and better overall. Especially during the current crisis, sales managers are more stressed-out than ever and might be extra emotional right now. Being proactive can help you to manage that interaction, and interactions in the future.
The Difference Between a Salesperson and a Sales Manager
Salespeople and their managers are very different. If you are a front-line salesperson, chances are you love that job because you get to help people. You’re motivated by taking care of others, and when you can make someone happy, remove a problem, or satisfy their needs, it’s a great feeling! For those who enjoy being a manager, however, are motivated differently. They’re not on the front line communicating directly with clients, or hearing about how they have helped them solve a need. Instead, they are focused on large projects and long-term goals, and motivated by power or exercising authority. This doesn’t necessarily mean you want to have power over people in a negative sense, but you want to guide your team to grander goals. If a sales manager doesn’t feel like their sales team is focused on those grander goals, or on the right path to eventually achieve them, that can be very stressful and threatening, and you definitely do not want a stressed-out sales manager.
Speaking Their Language
Part of managing your manager is to understand their motivations and their goals and understand that not everyone sees the world in the same way. Once you get a clear view of your manager’s goals, you can align your goals with their goals so that everyone can be a lot happier. To get more specific, you can communicate to your manager that you understand their long-term goal, and then let them know where you’re at on the path to that long-term goal. For example, you could say, “I am on the path that you set out. I am a team player, and I’m going down that path because I respect and trust your judgment. Right now, I am at this place on the path, and it might take a few more months to get to this place on the path.” You’re acknowledging their leadership, which is really important for those who live and breathe management. Plus, you’re speaking their language by talking about big picture things and you’re letting them know where you’re at with the plan, and that you’re committed to the plan, which helps relieve their anxiety. This gives you time to focus on what is most important to you: helping people solve problems.