Great at Sales, Poor at Managing?

Technically, your skills are sharp and finely tuned. You make sales quotas with extra to spare. So why aren’t you getting promoted?

A move up the ladder requires you to perform at a higher level of skills, both technical or hard skills and soft skills like team building, motivation, communication, and emotional intelligence.

In fact, a recent study reported on by the BBC stated that “A survey of 198 employers in the UK indicated, for graduates, being good at communicating, a team player, confident and analytical were all more important than having technical knowledge.”

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) supported the findings. It seems that UK employers prefer a level of soft skills over technical skills when recruiting.

Hard management skills can be learned, and you can usually master these new technical skills on the job. But the soft skills that are required today to move up the corporate ladder are harder to learn.

Some people just seem to have them. If you don’t, what can you do to increase your chances for moving up the corporate ladder?

With effort and awareness, you can strengthen your softer skills and be ready to move up that ladder.

Here below are some tips:

– Learn how to communicate. And this doesn’t mean small talk. You need to learn how to communicate the hard stuff in an effective and efficient way, both orally and in writing. If top management decides on a policy change that you don’t necessarily agree with, you need to learn how to effectively relay that policy change in a positive manner to your subordinates. Never complain to your employees about upper management. And watch that your body language is always saying the right things, too.

– Accept feedback graciously. Learn to accept feedback from all sources and incorporate it into your work. Don’t become defensive. Look for the nugget of wisdom in another’s criticism. Is there a grain of truth that you can learn from and grow to your advantage.

– Be an active listener. Listen intently when someone else is talking and try to paraphrase what they’ve said to show them you understand their points. Try to gauge the speaker’s mood by observing body language. It’s acceptable to take notes, especially during meetings, so that you can maintain focus. And ask questions if you don’t understand something.

– Practice teamwork and collaboration. It’s not always crucial that you lead on every assignment. Someone else may have a stronger skill set on a particular project, and it’s wiser for you to follow his or her lead. Teamwork is figuring out how to work with everyone to get the job done on time and on budget.

– Take the initiative to be innovative. Don’t wait for something to be handed to you before addressing a problem you’re aware of. Take the initiative and be innovative enough to bring the problem and some well thought out solutions to your boss. Show everyone you’re an innovative problem solver.

– Be diplomatic. Or a master of integrity. Or professional at all times. However it’s best for you to refer to always taking the high ground, practice that effusively. Stay above gossip and petty office politics. Don’t complain or adopt a pessimistic attitude. Be above it all.

These are just a few of the soft skills to work on. According to Rob Wall, CBI head of education and employment policy, the CBI had found 89% of British firms had regarded attitudes to work and character as the most important factor when recruiting graduates.

Keep in mind that you always want to work towards your strengths while trying to improve your weaknesses. Your strengths are where you power comes from. There’s nothing more powerful than taking the initiative to improve yourself in your career. And the best way is to take training courses on the areas you need more focus on.

Natural Training offers training programmes along several different lines of sales, negotiation and presentation that are tailored to your needs. Contact one of our experts today to discuss the most effective training courses for you – 0207 043 1582

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