Article

Lead and Motivate: Skills That Can Be Taught

September 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Mauricio Espinosa - Also by this author

Our last article covered the multi-cultural team topic. The motivational skills of the manager of that team are fundamental to success.  Before I go in depth on this matter, I want to make sure we all understand one basic truth in business: companies are great due to great people, not the other way around. Because of this, it is important to make sure personnel understand each element and task that they perform and how they contribute to the bottom line of the entire operation.

To do this, we need to have managers that can lead, manage, plan, strategize and MOTIVATE. Two of those five are going to show if the manager is doing a good job or not: Lead and motivate.

I’ve seen plenty of managers that are great at managing resources, planning and generating strategies, but when their results are analyzed, they fall short. If they can’t lead or motivate their people to follow the plan, stick to the strategy and really pursue the results set by the manager, you’re left with a sales department with some salespeople doing what they want and selling what they want, when they want, and the way they want. The end result: your CSI STINKS, your profitability STINKS, your productivity STINKS and your manager... yes, say it with me... STINKS.

The good news is leadership and how to motivate can be taught. There are many managers who think because they talk with energy and sprinkle in words such as challenge, attitude or winner, they are a fantastic motivator. Don’t confuse motivating the team with energizing the team. Don’t get me wrong; energy is huge. Energy is your fuel, but real motivation comes from creating and finding motives for salespeople and continually working with them so the salesperson can achieve the intended results.

Before continuing let’s establish three basics rules:

  • Do not ask anybody to do anything that you wouldn’t do.
  • Good or bad, provide immediate feedback; do not wait until the end of the month or the next employee review to do it.
  • Encourage and support two-way communication; let your employee tell you what he/she enjoys and dislikes about the job.

These rules work especially well if you have a coaching process in place with your sales team. These conversations will enable you to have a highly motivated team.

Every time you assign new goals or new tasks, make sure your employees know how to achieve that goal, and their goals should grow over time. This part of the sales manager role, or any manager, is also crucial for the end results. Too many managers just give an order of what needs to be done and do not always get back the results they were expecting. When you assign a goal or task with a plan and a strategy in which both parts are discussed and agreed upon, the chances of achieving the goal are significantly improved.

Motivation is an art, but an everyday job of the manager. Motivation starts with you! If you are not motivated, you are not going to motivate anybody. As you grow in business and in life, you will find yourself with less and less people to “motivate” you. Actually you find reality, because nobody can really motivate anyone. We can inspire or energize, but motivation comes from within. We can help motivate people by knowing and helping them, so they can achieve their personal goals. In return, you will be doing your job as a leader, which in my opinion is greater than the job that you can do as a manager.

Vol 5, Issue 8

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