Pro’s Don’t Clone!

The reality in most flooring stores is that the sales manager was likely one of the firm’s top producing salespeople who got promoted. While I believe this often to be a mistake, as coaching a game properly requires an entirely different skill set than playing a game well, it’s a fact just the same.

Many sales managers that I observe seem to feel that it is their responsibility to somehow “clone” their own techniques into staff members. Then invariably, when a team member fails to measure up to their own past successes, they become frustrated. This is very predictable since they attempted to teach as they like to be taught – rather than how the employee needs to learn.

As a manager, your goal is not (or should not be) to persuade employees to do things the way that you would do them. Remember this isn’t about you – it’s about the trainee. The emphasis must be on them – and their perspective.

The best way to get revealing answers is to ask good questions. In a civil tone ask, “Why did you approach this situation in this manner?” Or, “How do you feel that we could have done better?” Such questions lead employees to discover their own solutions and insights.

You may think that you understand what’s going on and why something happened, but you might easily be wrong. When you listen to an employee and acknowledge what he or she has to say, you learn about the world from that employee’s point of view, which in turn helps you to better understand how to help him or her positively change their behavior. When you master this technique, the performance of your entire team will show improvement.

Tom Jennings

Monday, December 10, 2012