Are you doing things right, or doing the right thing?

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right thing.”

Peter Drucker, consultant and author makes an interesting distinction for anyone who heads up a sales team to acknowledge. Management is about formal appointments and structure. It’s help, assistance, all those things done in a formalised structure. Leaders don’t need that formalised structure.

What they do includes the following:

• Developing others

• Share ideas and encourage participation

• Learn and encourage to learn• Innovate

• Be visibly accountable

The sales profession is challenging. We can all agree that. What sales professionals need to not only survive (hit targets, meet deadlines, etc) but to grow and develop, is inspiration – new ways to do things when the traditional ways just aren’t working.

Sales leaders can draw great results from their team in these situations.

Here at Natural Training we’re so convinced that the modern sales environment requires new techniques and approaches to sales that we’re written a book on it – click here for yours. What this means is, as the business world becomes a more competitive place, you need to be inspiring and motivating your team to get to grips with the new and fresh challenges that it represents. To simply enforce the ‘rules’ is static and motionless. It won’t generate the same type of commitment, productivity or results from those you work with.

Here’s a great example of the two different styles.

Head of team 1: This head of team is authoritarian, he does things by the book. He lives by the book. He has a wealth of knowledge on how stuff gets done traditionally by the business and could answer ANYTHING on procedure. He’s a nice guy, a good guy, but basically enforces what is already known. There’s no real feeling of momentum with him, and no-one feels particular inspired to break free from the norm and try something different and new.

This guy is a manager.

Head of team 2: This head of team asks a lot of question of his team. Question after question after question. What they like, what they dislike, what they find challenging in the role and what they wanted to achieve. When someone tells him that the hardest part of their job is to close deals as quickly as the rest of the team he simply says, “yeah, that’s tough. OK, let’s close your next one together”. He allows the team the freedom to express their own ideas, go against the grain and, yes, make the odd mistake along the way. This isn’t through neglect or because he doesn’t care – it’s the opposite in fact. It’s because he creates an environment that allows people to innovate and create new and unique ways of achieving success.

This guy is a leader.

Head of team 2 doesn’t just preach about leadership, he practices it. So, naturally those around him have the freedom and then inspiration to act like leaders too. They will display a desire to innovate, share ideas on sales practice, and feel comfortable in their environment to come up with new approaches to closing deals – the kind that reflect the ever-changing world we work in.

This is a culture of leadership. And, while many organisations understand its importance, do they allow it to grow and develop within their teams and departments? In our experience, no, not enough.

So, having read this, can you answer the following questions:

1. Do you inspire your team to lead, or do you inspire them to follow procedure?

2. Are you creating a culture of leadership within your team or department?

3. Are you embracing the changes in selling today, or stuck in the past?

The sales training team at Natural Training would love to hear from you if you believe leadership to be a challenge at your business. Do you have a leadership strategy for 2013?

Call the team to discuss on 0207 043 1582 or email

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