If you’ve worked in sales for a while you must have heard this said before, ‘good sales people make bad managers’ I overheard someone say it last week which led me to write this post. It’s an unfair thing to say and as leaders, we should be careful. I know some incredible managers and leaders in the sales profession that started working in sales.
I might be biased but my wife for one, one of the greatest team managers I’ve ever seen in action, she inspires her team and can lead others in her direction effortlessly. An old manager of mine Stuart Lascelles, his calm nature was always so reassuring in a high pressured sales environment, my old friend Dan Newton was always in the trenches with his team, he genuinely cared about them. And my Dad, who I used to watch doing his job as a kid, he was a friend to each of his team but they all knew where the line was and wanted to do their best for him, a bit like he was their Dad.
Of course, there are bad sales managers like there is good and bad in everything. But it’s not because they are sales people. It’s because they don’t have the desire to develop and coach their team that makes them a bad manager. It’s because they are more interested in their own status and results than serving others. It’s because they push blame and put pressure on their team during difficult times rather than protecting and leading them through it. It’s not because they’re ‘sales people’, which is what a flippant comment suggests and we should stop saying so. It’s discouraging of the future leaders that are growing in our sales organizations today.