As a Sales Manager, maintaining positive mental energy on your team is a consistent challenge in any economy. With unemployment at 8.5%, Dooms Day News Reports all over the media and huge percentages of sales teams being wiped out or dissolved all together the challenge can seem impossible. With most companies cutting back to smaller and smaller sales teams it is more important that ever that each member of your team is productive and positive.
Here are some tips on to how to refocus your remaining team and maintain a positive culture amidst the stress of today's economic climate.
1. Communication – Honest and Often.
Your employees need to know as much as possible where they stand and where the company stands in regards to financial health. This type of communication becomes harder to accomplish at large companies, when managers are often kept in the dark as well. Even if you are in a leadership chain, your team will look to you, their direct leader, for guidance and reassurance. Communicate, even over communicate. As a recruiter, I am sometimes the first call people make when they are let go. Of all the stories, the worst stories are those employees that were caught off guard and given no reason for the decision. Not only does this affect the actual people you have let go, but your remaining team will lose all trust in you and in the company.
2. Lead By Example.
Your team will always look to you to gain your reaction to the situation. Put on your game face and show confidence. If you can, roll up your sleeves and get more involved. Grab an oar and start rowing with them!!!! They need to see that you understand the challenges that are greeting them on a daily basis but that you are not letting them stop you.
3. Create a Vision for The Future.
John Kotter said; "Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there." In any economy it is easy to get pulled down into the FUDS (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Superstition). In this economy leaders must help redirect the mental attitudes of their teams by helping them to see the sliver lining that exists in the fact that we are in a recession. Repeat after me…. "we are in a recession". The worst any of us have probably ever seen. Help your team focus on this time as an opportunity. In order to survive we have to raise our game. Things are not going to "go back to normal," they are going to get better but new industries will emerge as leaders, new services are going to be cutting edge, and there will be new ways to perform every role. Change is the only constant.
I'd argue that sales people are the most aptly equipped to deal with this recession. We as sales people have been trained to hunker down and ride the highs and lows that are bound to test even the best of us in any economy. Attitude is a choice….how we chose to view these challenges is a choice we make. As leaders we have influence to genuinely redirect our team's mental energy.