Vince Lombardi said, “Coaches who can outline a play on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.” This insight from Coach Lombardi speaks to the necessity for all leaders to understand their players and instill confidence while inspiring a desire for to achieve greatness.
Running a national sales organization is difficult. There are numerous challenges that come into play that every leader must deal with on a regular basis. Cultural differences, time zones, and competition are just a few of the most pressing items that every sales leader encounters.
While there are many critical characteristics that make up a great national sales leader one stands above the rest…communication. Communication is both art and science. At its most effective level communication is a two-way street. A give and take. A back and forth. It requires research, listening, understanding and patience. Good communicators know what to say. Great communicators know how to say it and when. The right message delivered at the wrong time, in the wrong venue, or with the wrong tone can be just as disastrous as delivering the wrong message. Great leaders know their people. They understand what drives them. What makes them tick. Because of their deep insight into their people they are able to communicate at a higher level than those leaders who don’t take the time to get to know their people.
To be a great communicator you must do these 6 things:
- Educate yourself in your area of expertise. It always amazes me how some folks believe that because they’ve been “in the business” for 10, 15, or 20 plus years they just know it all. Their arrogance has misled them providing a false sense of security.
- Get to know your team. Really get to know them. Spend one-on-one time with them to understand who they are, what’s important to them, where they want to go, and when they’d like to get there. Listen to them and be sure to focus all your attention on them. We’ve all had those meetings where the person we’re talking to has “wandering eyes” and you just know they’re not hearing you.
- Practice. Use a mirror. Even after more than 25 years of building and leading large teams I still practice my message in front of a mirror. Facial expressions are just as important as your message. If the two appear disconnected your credibility goes out the window.
- Show empathy. As the saying goes, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Empathy can only be developed when you take a genuine interest in helping others.
- Do it often. The more you communicate with the right message the more transparent you become. After all that’s what people want…transparency. The ability to know what to expect without surprises is what builds credibility.
- Be clear. Say what you mean. Minimize the buzz words, big words, and impressive phrases. No one cares how smart you sound. They’re only interested in whether what you do can help them meet their needs.
Give it a shot and let me know how it works!