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Be Responsible To, Not For Your Sales Team

Be Responsible To, Not For Your Sales Team Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip video, I want to share the difference of being ‘responsible to’ your sales team and being ‘responsible for’ your sales team. Both scenarios have a distinct impact on how we manage our teams.

It’s very healthy to be responsible to your sales team. And it’s unhealthy to be responsible for them. To create an accountable environment, we need to carry our responsibilities as leaders and be clear about what the sales team’s responsibilities are.

I use the word expectations a lot, but the sales team is responsible for making sales. And we’re responsible for supporting them with tools, removing obstacles, education, training and organization structure.

How do you know when you’re being ‘responsible to” or you’re being ‘responsible for’ your team? I have some indicators I think of when I’m being responsible to my teams.

When I’m responsible to my teams I feel grounded. I feel in good support of them. I’m confident in their ability and I’m satisfied in my role and feel that I’m doing my job well. I am hopeful for the team. I’m optimistic and those feelings translate into actions. For instance, I will encourage my team. In addition, I’ll also challenge them very strongly because I’m confident in them. Furthermore, I will exercise patience. With successes and failures, I seem to have more patience when I’m being responsible to them. And I do my job, as I mentioned earlier, of removing obstacles and also providing new sales tools to help them sell more. So that’s ‘responsible to’, a healthy place to be.

When I cross over or any of us cross over to being responsible for your team, you might feel worried, scared or overly concerned. You may have less confidence in your team. Your belief is down so you’re not going to challenge them as much, however, if you do it’s not in a healthy way. Those feelings of concern can manifest themselves. You start looking for problems. That’s when we might start micromanaging or solving issues for them that they should be solving for themselves. We might be tempted to make sales for them or make decisions for them. On the far end of the scale, you start losing interest and you become apathetic.

To summarize, those are two examples of feelings and actions for being ‘responsible to’ and being ‘responsible for’. We want to stay on the ‘responsible to’ side of the fence if we want to build an accountable environment.

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Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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