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I Thought I Was A Good Manager

When I joined Butler Street last spring, my first assignment was attending a leadership workshop for a new client. I remember sitting through a course listening to my new colleagues at Butler Street present the various coaching and leadership modules to a group of front-line sales leaders. After the workshop ended, I thought to myself, “I was a good manager, but could have been a lot better.”

Fast forward to a recent client meeting where one of the attendees (a successful sales leader) said basically the same thing… ”I’m not as good as I thought I was.” I had to laugh!

Each of us have had success and positively impacted our teams over the years. So why did we both say the same thing?

It is because we each quickly recognized that by sticking with the fundamentals and keeping things simple, we can be so much better.



As a manager or salesperson, it’s easy to get stuck in the “whirlwind” of 100 daily emails, endless conference calls, and the crisis of the moment. Unfortunately, we tend to accommodate the whirlwind by sacrificing time dedicated to practice.

Ask yourself how much time you spend each week as a team practicing the fundamentals such as:

  • Active listening skills

  • Role practicing your prospecting phone skills

  • Practicing and critiquing presentation skills

  • Reviewing and refining your insight stories and value statements

  • Practicing your pitch in front of teammates and managers

  • Handling common objections

In other words, are you doing enough to get ready for game time?

Consider this… All-Pro NFL players practice the basics of their craft every day. They are the “elite of the elite” but recognize their edge will dull if they don’t consistently work on fundamentals.

We practiced, just not enough. Committing un-compromised practice time would have made my teams better.

Manage Agreements

Having written agreements with each member of a team that clearly state what we expect from each other is the foundation for order and consistency. Once agreements are established, uncomfortable conversations become more about the agreement and less about why something didn’t get done. “Nothing personal… it’s just business”

As a manager, I sometimes gave top performers a pass on certain activities when they were delivering new business. Albeit a small thing, I created drama for myself when it came time to enforce our agreements.

The great thing about managing to an agreement is this… inevitably, the conversation can be steered back to the following script:

“We have an agreement as a team that we will do X”. (X = Outcome, Activity, Process, Behavior, Communication or Values- based agreement)?

“Do you agree that this is important?”

“Are you willing to do this?”

“Do you need anything from me?”

Good teammates understand their commitment and want to hold up their end of the deal. If they don’t, it may be a sign you don’t have the right people on your team.

Deliver Specific Coaching

I'd like to think I gave recognition for job well done and constructive coaching on a regular basis. However, in retrospect I could have done some things better.

Effective coaching is a learned skill that great managers turn into a habit. Whether it’s on-the-spot-coaching or defined time dedicated to coaching to strategy, activity or skill, Butler Street Leadership Effectiveness training helps managers understand the importance of positive feedback (the “psychological paycheck”), the various forms of feedback and their impact, as well as steps to manage those difficult conversations more effectively. Putting into practice processes that begin with agreements and continues with consistent, clear communications that will result in higher team engagement and productivity.

As managers, getting better at what we do each day is what turns good teams into great teams. At Butler Street, we help our clients and their people grow. Contact us to learn more.

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