Thongtaccong Management

Managers are people who do things right

Month: September 2015

7 Must-Know Tips for Managing Your Millennial Sales Team

Organizations used to be able to cook up a successful sales team with a few basic ingredients: a quality product, a compelling compensation plan, a simple training program and effective sales tracking. Not so anymore. Millennials have changed the recipe.

Millennials are the youngest generation in today’s workforce. They also differ vastly from those in the generations before them — and that’s especially true when it comes to sales. Millennial salespeople are confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change. They came of age immersed in technology and instant communication. Their expectations, for work and personal life, are sky-high.

It should come as no surprise then that this unique generation has tremendous potential for great results in sales — but millennials require a new style of management to foster that success.

Here are seven essential tips for effectively managing millennial salespeople:

1. Figure out what really drives them. Millennials are idealists, often focusing more on social impact or personal fulfillment than how much money they make. They also tend to live at home with their parents longer than those of previous generations and put off marriage and child-rearing. As a result, some millennials are less driven by the need for financial stability than  the quest for work-life balance or community contribution. Figure out what really drives your millennial staffers so that you can motivate them effectively.

2. Help them see the clients’ perspective. Because millennial salespeople sometimes sell to older clients, they’ll need to understand and connect with them. Teach your millennial sales team that 55-year-old prospects won’t have the same outlooks or aspirations as 27-year-olds. The baby boomer client might be highly motivated by financial security, say, while a millennial one could be driven by convenience and flexibility. If millennial salespeople fail to understand the perspectives of those from other generations, they will struggle to maintain relationships with some clients and close sales with many prospects.

3. Train, train, train — and then train some more. Millennials might be overeducated for their entry-level jobs, but you should still provide them with extensive training. Baby boomer parents have instilled millennials with an appreciation for continued education. By offering comprehensive training to new hires, you’ll draw top young talent to your organization. Plus, millennials are typically enthusiastic learners who will implement the strategies and techniques they are taught. The more training you provide, the more effective they will be.

4. Focus on what they do — not when. The idea of a 9-to-5 workday is not just foreign to most millennials; it’s abhorrent. If left to their own devices, these young salespeople might head off to the gym at noon, but that doesn’t mean they’re not hardworking. They’ll likely to stay late at work to finish what they have to do.

Many organizations struggle to manage their millennial salespeople by requiring that they work certain hours. This is unnecessary and harmful to productivity. Millennials are famous for demanding work-life balance. If they sense that their employer lacks an appreciation for work-life equilibrium, their morale may plummet and they might consider other job options.

So instead of setting a rigid work schedule, give your millennial sales team specific daily or weekly sales-activity goals: a certain number of calls, meetings to arrange or events to attend. Then let them work according to the schedule that enables them to be the most productive.

5. Give them lots of feedback. There’s a reason why millennials are called Trophy Kids! This generation wants glowing recognition — and lots of it. Remember that this generation grew up receiving awards and trophies for nearly every endeavor, whether it’s taking last place at a Little League tournament or fifth place at a science fair. Capitalize upon this by giving lots of feedback. Knowing that their manager thinks they’re doing a great job can be a terrific motivator. Millennials aim high when it comes to work achievement and are exceptionally open to constructive criticism if it will translate to more success, faster.

6. Set their expectations for success. Millennials grew up with instant gratification — fast food, instant messaging and 24-hour news cycle. As a result, this generation looks for fast results and is likely to get bored quickly. In the workplace this translates into what’s known as job-hopping: Millennials might stay at each job for only a few months to a year, leaving for greener pastures if their expectations aren’t met in a timely manner. Instead of viewing this negatively, consider that this mind-set can be an asset to your business. Millennial salespeople start every new job with enthusiasm and high hopes. If you can help shape their expectations for the job, you can more consistently retain millennial talent. Set realistic expectations early on for millennial salespeople, and you will lessen the likelihood that they’ll leave in the near future.

7. Ask for their help. One of the best qualities of members of the millennial generation is that they are collaborative, team-oriented workers. This means they’re likely to want to help others in the workplace. Once they have shown superior skills in particular areas, invite them to train others. Millennials will likely be strong with technologies such as your customer relationship management system. Let them help veteran salespeople master a technology if they struggle with it.

5 Ways to Become a Better Manager

Ineffective managers do a lot of damage in today’s business world. Their actions and attitudes can lead to decreased engagement and productivity along with increased turnover and even lawsuits. The number-one reason people leave a company is a bad boss, and 20 percent of employees feel their bosses impact their careers negatively.

Research shows that a positive relationship with your manager directly influences your job satisfaction. The way you manage your projects and employees affects the productivity of your entire department and company — so mastering management skills is crucial. Our expert teachers from online education company lynda.com recommend the following five things to focus on:

1. Pick the right management style. There is a range of management styles and all are a blend of three key behaviors: how much task direction you provide through instructions and training; how much autonomy you give employees in making decisions; and how much you invest in building relationships through open communication, coaching and engaging employees.

We all have a natural style of management, but it’s only going to be effective part of the time. It will be the perfect fit for some of your employees, and they will thrive under you. But if you want your entire team to thrive, you must be willing to become versed in more than one style. More importantly, you need to know when and how to switch between them.

2. Become more persuasive. Dr. John Ullmen, a professor of management and organizations at UCLA, notes that “our passion to persuade often exceeds our ability to convince,” because we only use a narrow range of tactics, focusing on the ones that would convince us. To become more persuasive, expand your toolkit.

Ullmen believes there are 12 tactics you can use in varying combinations to create success. These range from the informational, such as rational analysis and citing credible sources; the strategic, aligning with high-level goals or with key values; to the interpersonal of leading by example. Become versed in all 12 tactics, and choose the combination that will best convince your intended audience.

3. Get clear about accountability. Part of your role is to hold people accountable for results. However, it’s highly unlikely that your direct reports are actually working on the right priorities. Scott Blanchard, co-author of Leverage Your Best, Ditch the Rest, conducted a study asking managers to make a list of priorities for each employee. Then employees were asked to make their own list. The average agreement between them was only 21 percent.

Clearly communicate your expectations to your employees and check in periodically to ensure you’re still on the same page. Only hold people accountable for the issues that really matter and be a role model for accountability yourself.

4. Engage your employees. Employee engagement is a key contributor to increased retention and productivity. According to MBA professor Todd Dewett, engaged employees feel emotionally attached to their work, and identify with the whole organization. Yet studies show that 70 percent of U.S. employees are disengaged.

Common mistakes that managers make are confusing engagement with motivation, assuming that their employees share their own level of engagement, and using the same tactics with every employee. Your efforts will be most effective when you tailor them to each employee individually.

5. Resolve cross-department conflict. Working across functions and teams is a normal practice in modern business. Eventually, every manager faces cross-department conflict. Simon T. Bailey, author of top business book Release Your Brilliance, believes that conflict occurs when there is a fight for resources, a weak relationship and a lack of communication between departments.

He recommends first, build rapport and connection with the other team. Learn more about their goals and their challenges. Next, be willing to give to get. Focus on how you can help them achieve a win. Then later, have the courage to ask for their help in return. Work together to focus on what is best for the company and put the integrity of the brand before individual or department goals.

By using these effective strategies, you’ll be a better manager, enhancing the success of your company and accelerating your career.

8 Tips to Help First-Time Managers Thrive

Effective management is an important part of any business. When people are put in a position to manage others it is usually reflective of their performance, work ethic and acumen for leading and helping others both directly and indirectly.

The first time you become a manager, it can be both a positive and overwhelming experience. Management is not easy, as it requires many skills including areas that generally get better with experience like communication, coaching, motivating and listening.

But everyone needs to start somewhere and there some important steps that can make the transition a bit smoother. To help first-time managers start strong and thrive as their responsibilities grow, here are eight tips to keep in mind on day one.

1. Understand the business

You need to be prepared to address questions from your direct reports that take into account the broader landscape of the company. From strategy to culture and HR issues, you need to know what is happening across the business, so you can make informed decisions while confidently providing direction.

How do you do this? Spend time with senior leaders and ask questions. Why is the strategy what it is? Why have certain decisions been made? What can your team do to support other parts of the business? The more you know, the more you can help your team focus.

2. Prioritize your one-on-one check-ins

Individual time with your direct reports is critical towards their success and overall career development. It is during this time that you need to keep an honest watch on priorities, metrics, and any questions that might be on their mind.

How do you do this? Set up the one-on-ones, so they happen at a regular and predictable cadence. Block the time on your calendar and do your best to respect this time.

3. Stay in the trenches

It’s likely that you were asked to be a manager, because you were great at doing whatever your discipline demanded. You worked hard and achieved a certain level of success as a result. Now that you are a manager it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do the “dirty work” that helped you succeed in the first place. It is an endearing quality that your direct reports will respect when you are willing to do any job at any time to help them move forward.

How do you do this? Keep an eye on things day to day and when there is an opportunity to jump in and help, grab the opportunity and run with it. At the end of the day the success of the business is what matters and a culture where anyone — including you — is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish things is a culture that will thrive and endure.

4. YOU are the example

Through the good times and bad, who are people going to look to when they need inspiration or an example for how to act? The answer is simple: you. You are now the example that others need to follow. The values you demonstrate, the way you handle adversity and ambiguity and the way you persevere through the biggest challenges, is now considered the measuring stick for how others will act and behave.

How do you do this? You are going to need to be very mindful of your emotions and how you react in certain situations. You are going to need to slow down, be patient and develop an informed perspective, so you can lead in a way that people will admire and model.

5. Understand the importance of delegation

You are going to find early on that you want to be involved in everything your team is working on. The challenge here is that you cannot be everywhere at once. You need to create an environment where you are actively relying on others to help carry projects. You will still be informed, but you need to let others lead so they can grow their abilities and perspective. Over the years whether it was my time at Microsoft or Porch, some of the best managers I have seen are the ones who have mastered the art of effective delegation.

How do you do this? When you need someone to step up and lead on your behalf, be clear on your expectations but also stress to them how important the opportunity is for them personally. When they know how important their role is they will feel even greater ownership towards ensuring an optimal outcome and their contributions will feel even more valuable.

6. Find a mentor

One of the first steps you should take is to find a mentor that you can go to when you have questions or need support. Find someone who has excelled at being the type of manager you want to be; ideally someone who has experience handling a diverse set of situations, so you can understand first hand the pros and cons for handling certain situations certain ways.

How do you do this? Look across your company or outside your company (perhaps someone you worked with in a previous job) and approach them and see if they would be willing to help out.

7. Be consistent

If you constantly flip-flop on decisions or how you make decisions, your team will start to lose trust in your ability to strategically lead. They will question if you are making informed judgments, leading with emotion or worse – you are unprepared to handle your new responsibility.

How do you do this? To be a consistent leader you need to be a patient leader. Take your time. Don’t respond to emails with irrational feedback. Don’t make a decision in the moment just because people are pushing you to do so. Find outlets that allow you to think through things. Go for a walk. Write up emails and step away before you send them. This can be very hard for people at every level but sometimes the best thing you can do is just slow.

8. Know that relationships have changed

Often first-time managers find themselves managing people that were once their peers or people they have created a personal relationship with. When you become their manager the relationship changes, and you need to be transparent about that. You are now their boss and you will need to wear that hat when you are in the office. You can never allow yourself to have personal relationships cloud business decisions.

How do you do this? You need to set clear ground rules and have the conversation upfront that things have changed. I have found that the best way to do this is to add additional 1:1s to address in real time any situations that may feel awkward. You need to be transparent (as do others) and if things feel weird, talk about it so you can collaborate on a solution.

How to Merge Differing Management Styles Into a Cohesive Team

he approach of a manager has tremendous influence on staff productivity, as well as that of the entire organization. As each department in an organization is responsible for its own efficiency, each department manager may have his or her own unique leadership style. Consequently, the way in which a manager delegates responsibility, makes decisions and interacts with staff can impact the entire organization. When managers exercise differing leadership styles, it can sometimes make it difficult to bring all departments together in the most productive manner.

In order to form the most cohesive management team possible, it is often necessary to bring together a variety of leadership styles. This is often easier said than done. When managers with similar leadership styles interact with one another, communication tends to be somewhat easy. Conversely, when managers with differing leadership styles interact, communication as well as cooperation tends to be strained, and it becomes a challenge to get anything done. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that organizations bring differing leadership styles together to form a more cohesive management team.

First, it is important to recognize that while there are different leadership styles, no one leadership style is better than another, but some styles tend to work better in some situations than other leadership styles. There may be some situations in which it may be better to give the lead to one manager based on the desired outcome.

In addition, it is important to define clear boundaries. Setting ground rules can be particularly important when multiple leaders share the management of the same team or group of employees. Ideally, leaders should spend some time discussing their leadership philosophies, how they prefer to manage, and how they would like to check in with one another. Such check-ins can prove to be invaluable in terms of ensuring that everyone is clear regarding their separate goals and responsibilities, while also setting the stage to analyze individual management styles. Doing so can help leaders to become more aware of other types of leadership styles. This will not only help leaders to appreciate what others are able to bring to the table, but also provide the opportunity to upgrade leadership knowledge and skills in the process.

Leaders with differing management styles will also find it beneficial to open up to one another while maintaining a strong sense of goodwill. Even if managers with differing styles are never able to completely define established boundaries, taking the time to get to know one another better can prove to be helpful in understanding each person’s perspective while also appreciating individual differences.

Working with differing leadership styles is challenging. Through overcoming these challenges, it is possible to create a more productive organization. By learning to work across diverse leadership styles, it also becomes possible to sustain successful and motivating relationships while driving improved organization results.