You’re a natural born leader. No need to be humble about it. All your life you’ve been organizing people inside and outside of work. Though sometimes it seems like herding a pack of Welsh corgi pups would be an easier feat, you still can’t help but love it when a plan comes together.
So now that you have some sales experience under your belt, it’s time to enter the next logical phase of your career: moving on up to management. To finally get a piece of that pie, you need to establish the right groundwork. Here are the essential truths that every manager comes to realize.
1.) There’s No Universal Way to Manage Employees
It might seem hypocritical to start the list this way, but it’s true. Anyone who says there’s a universal management technique is selling you snake oil. Each team member will learn and be motivated differently. You just need to decode their M.O.
For starters, there are three different learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) that every person has in their own unique combination. Though it’s probably been some time since your college days, these learning strategies still apply:
- Visual learners are going to do their best work when they have written materials to review. Company databases, emails, and training manuals are their key to retaining new information. When learning new systems or techniques, they need to watch someone doing it step by step.
- Auditory learners excel at learning new information through conversation. That way, they can ask incisive questions and summarize the conversation in their own words to aid in memorization. They benefit from having a network of coworkers to confer with and hash out all the details out loud.
- Kinesthetic learners are the type of people who need to wade through projects on their own, learning the ins and outs through hands-on implementation. When learning about a new client, kinesthetic learners commit new details to memory when they can diagram out the new connections between existing knowledge.
Moreover, employees are going to react to different styles of management. Some prefer regular debriefings and consistent feedback. Others like to be left to their own devices and feel that they’re trusted to do their jobs. Flexibility in your management ensures that a variety of different people can all feel satisfied in one office.
Being aware of both learning predispositions and preferred management styles can help you to build the right foundation now, so that when your bid for management is considered, it’s clear that you already can handle a broad spectrum of people and personalities.
2.) You Need to Know the Entirety of the Business
What separates your typical sales person from someone in a managerial position is that the manager is thinking big picture. No department is an island unto itself, but is part of a larger ecosystem. Sales meshes together with recruiting, marketing, accounting, and operational divisions to drive the business in the right direction.
To get promoted from sales to management, you need to progress beyond a “sales only” perspective. A business, like a brain, functions when every area is operating in harmony. Good managers have a holistic view. They foster strong ties with senior members of every department, leveraging their knowledge into solutions that transcend what sales alone would be able to do.
When you get promoted to management, that mentality needs to be apparent in your work. Getting stuck in the minutiae of sales concerns limits your capabilities and inhibits the mental pliancy needed for you to surmount problems.
3.) Conflict Can’t Be Avoided, Only Resolved
There is an advantage to being lower on the totem pole. When conflict arises, you can pass it up the chain of command. That’s not an option when you are in charge.
A full range of issues will come across your desk. Client dissatisfaction, candidate fall off, interpersonal conflicts among your team, compensation complaints, tight budgets, and a long list of other issues will either galvanize your resolve or leave you feeling defeated. Certain tasks can be delegated, but many will require your direct input. Passing the buck is not an option.
Dodging problems undermines your respect as a leader and as a reliable lieutenant to your superiors. But what do you do when you feel outside of your depth? Though each issue is going to require its own unique solution (isn’t that always the case), there are several ways to approach every problem:
- Clear your head. Problem-solving is most successful when you’re in a positive mood.
- Be solution focused. Don’t get bogged down on the “why” of the problem. That type of thinking kills motivation and wastes precious time. Ask yourself how to fix the problem. Find out what is the first step you need to start the fix. Solutions flow from that point of origin.
- Leverage your network. In this case, you’re not passing off responsibility. You’re using your connections to make prudent decisions on your own. Good managers are humble enough to ask for help.
4.) You Need to Go Where Your Talent Will Be Valued
Sometimes, in spite of all the effort you put into a sales position, there just aren’t opportunities for you to advance. Instead of waiting for a ladder to be built to the next floor, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere.
There are plenty of opportunities to get promoted from sales to management at IDR. Our company is rapidly growing and we are currently experiencing a 50% promotion rate. There are plenty of ways to grow with IDR. Check out our careers page and learn more about the opportunities available to you.