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Characteristics of Leaders I’ve Seen Fired
I’m proud to say many leaders I work with get promoted, many going on to become SVPs, EVPs and C-suite executives. In contrast, I’ve also had a front row seat in observing the behaviors of less successful leaders, including those who eventually get fired. I’ve noticed several common downfalls of unsuccessful leaders:
  • Lack of Strategic Perspective – For a leader, receiving the feedback that they are too tactical or aren’t strategic is about the worst insult they could get. A lack of strategic perspective can be a death knell for a leadership career.
  • Lousy Interpersonal Skills – These leaders are sometimes safe as long as they produce results. However, when results tank, a lack of interpersonal skills, coupled with the inability to inspire, can be like water that finds the cracks in the dam. It makes everything they do look much worse.
  • Over Reliance on Interpersonal Skills – The flip side of having no interpersonal skills can also be a problem. Interpersonal skills are valuable, but if they are not combined with other critical competencies, that leader is little more than a nice person. As an aside, I’ve seen an overreliance on interpersonal skills propel people to mid- or even senior-level management positions, but rarely to an executive level.
  • Weak Results Orientation – Leaders must produce results, and that’s all there is to it. There is no one right way to achieve results, but it must be a driving factor of a leader’s work. Leaders who fail to produce results won’t stick around very long.
  • Lack of Change Leadership or Innovation – Leadership isn’t about maintaining the status quo. Great leaders drive improvement, increase performance, and raise the bar for the entire organization. Leaders who operate within their comfort zone, even if they do so effectively, eventually find themselves in danger.
As a leader, it’s just as important to identify and understand the traits that undermine effective leadership as it is to recognize the characteristics of a successful leader. Taking time to self-reflect and address any of the red flags outlined here could be the difference between the life and death of an executive leadership career.
Balancing Pressure and Encouragement as a Sales Leader
When it comes to sales, it is a common notion that if you make your sales quota, you did a good job. And if you miss your sales quota, you did a bad job. The pressure that comes with the expectation of meeting a sales quota can be useful. But overdone it becomes uniquely counterproductive.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to balance the need to motivate your team with being attentive to amplifying the pressure. Excessive pressure can mask talent, lead to poor decision making, and often causes people to choke. The Yerkes-Dodson Law (see bell curve below) illustrates that stress certainly helps us to get stuff done, but only to a point. Too little stress can lead to a lack of motivation, however too much stress can impair performance. That graphic comes straight from my article on this topic: 3 Ways to Motivate Your Sales Team – Without Stressing Them Out.
Instead of over using pressure and demand to motivate your sales team, inspire and motivate them to high performance in other ways. Encourage them to focus on creating value for customers in the sales experience, work with them to create a better sales process, or even develop their talent and skills with coaching to improve performance.
Focus your efforts as a leader on making your team better at their jobs rather than making them fear the idea of losing it.
Current Read
Have you ever found yourself procrastinating your work, but immensely caring about the quality and the outcome at the same time? Procrastination isn’t always a result of being lazy, sometimes it is the opposite – you care too much. Unhappy achievers often find themselves in this detrimental cycle of procrastinating and feeling lazy because of it.
This week’s read dives into the dilemma of unhappy achievers, and offers some solutions to what you can do if you find yourself fitting into this category.
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Edinger Consulting