— August 1, 2018
Too often, as managers, we get in the way of our people doing their jobs–either purposefully/intrusively, accidentally, being well-intentioned, or through inattention.
Whichever way this manifests itself, it stands in the way of us doing our jobs–that is to maximize the performance of each person on our team. Failing to do this, means we don’t achieve our goals in the short or long term.
We can’t do our people’s jobs–the numbers go against us. We do them, our companies, a disservice if we don’t enable them, hold them accountable, and let them do their jobs.
But too often we don’t let our people do their jobs!
- People don’t understand their jobs and what they are accountable for. Saying, “Here’s your territory, here’s your quota, go out and sell,” is insufficient. However, too often, the guidance sales people get isn’t much more than that. People need to understand what their job is, how they are expected to do it (e.g. processes, tools, activities, product lines, customer experience/engagement, etc.), how they will be measured, how the manager can support and help them. This isn’t a one time conversation, but it’s a continued discussion, coaching, and tuning what they do to maximize their performance in doing what they should be doing, and not wasting time doing things they shouldn’t be doing.
- Often managers take responsibilities away from the sales people, not letting them do the jobs we’ve hired them for. They do this through micromanagement, instructing them on each next step. They swoop into a customer situation doing the deal themselves–either because they don’t trust the sales person or through some misguided “super hero” complex. The more we take away these responsibilities, the less accountable sales people become–rightfully so.
- We don’t give our people a chance to fail. This is less a statement about compassion (e.g. we don’t want to see our children fail), but more driven by lack of confidence in their ability to do their jobs. We keep diving in, to avoid failures, but as a result, sales people never learn and grow. The trick for managers is to recognize part of growing our people’s capabilities is giving them the opportunity to succeed or fail, but constructing those so that no single failure is catastrophic to the individual or what you are trying to achieve. Stated differently, “sink or swim” is irresponsible management.
- Our “help” is not helpful. We may be driven to help our people, but we aren’t being helpful in the things they really need help on. Sometimes, as mentioned above, we do things for them or to them, failing to coach them and help them figure out what they should be doing.
- We don’t trust our people–I know I’ve said this earlier in the post, but it bears repeating. Down deep, we really don’t trust out people to execute what we need them to do, in the manner we expect them to do it. So we micromanage, tell, do the job for them. If you don’t trust your people, it’s your problem. If you have the wrong people, it’s your problem. Get the right people, make sure they are clear about their jobs, give them the tools and support they need, then LET THEM DO THEIR JOB! Then coach and develop, so they can constantly improve.
- It takes courage and confidence to let go, letting them to their jobs. Too often, we don’t have that courage and confidence, because we have failed to to our jobs (all the things I’ve mentioned to this point.).
I’ll stop here. You hired them to do a job, let them do it. You focus your time on doing your job rather than theirs.