Who are you?

 
Knowing who you are does not only help you, but it helps you to manage a group of people more effectively.  For example, some sales managers decide that they need to uphold some sort of image.  They walk in dressed to the nines looking self-assured and confident with a Starbucks coffee in hand and ready to take on the day. Although it is good to be confident, everyone has some level of anxiety and self-doubt; nobody is immune to that.

So, think about the things in your own life that have caused your own doubt or insecurities about who you are.  Maybe you were bullied or picked on because you were the shortest kid in your class.  Maybe you did not wear the name-brand clothes that everyone else had or you had academic difficulties. Sometimes these things stick, so we need to learn to cope with the ramifications.

Other people like to hide their vulnerabilities as they feel others will think they are less of a person if they have flaws.  It is important to remember that we all have flaws and we need to admit what they are so that we can deal with them in an appropriate manner.  If you are uncomfortable admitting those flaws it will make it hard to develop team relationships that you need in order to be an effective sales manager. You need to be comfortable in your own skin to be a good sales manager.

This means you need to have confidence but you also can’t put on a façade and act like you are ALWAYS confident.  Be true to yourself. Putting on a façade takes too much time and energy and it will take away from the important agenda items for that day.
 

The good, the bad, and the ugly

 
Next, consider who you are as a person and decide if you are the same person at work as you are at home.  If not, you may need to make some changes so that you are not putting all your energy into trying to create a persona that is not you.  You need to be able to accept yourself, faults and all, so that you can be yourself wherever you are.

It is important to face your faults and be open about things that may affect how you react to situations and how you interact with others.  For instance, if you have a short temper this may be something you want your team to know. This way if you react inappropriately to a situation they will know that it is not something that they caused and you may need some time to cool down before dealing with a situation.  Admit who you are and apologize when you make a mistake.  Having a short temper is not an excuse to yell at your team but recognizing it as an issue will help everyone to deal with it.

Owning your faults empowers you to be who you are.  People are not perfect and have to be comfortable with themselves for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
 

Why is this important?

 
A good leader accepts themselves for who they are and finds a way to deal with flaws.  When you are honest with yourself and with others, you have more to offer others.  Honesty allows you to deal with situations in a way you are comfortable.

It’s also important to note that wisdom comes from experiences.  When you know what you are good at you will use those skills to your advantage and when you understand your flaws, you can also take what you have learned from that and use it to your advantage.  Knowing your own flaws will help you to empathize with others and help them find ways to cope with their flaws as well.

At the end of the day, when you are comfortable being yourself you will be a better leader.  Putting on a persona uses too much of your energy and you can’t provide the leadership that is necessary to have a successful team.  It’s a given that things that have happened in your life or personality traits that you have will affect how you act and how you interact with others.  You need to own that and be aware of how you respond to situations.
 

Relieve the burden

 
Trying to be someone you are not is tiring.  Relieve the burden and empower yourself by owing who you are – faults and all.  Drop any inauthenticity so that you can put more focus on your real job.

In a sales situation, having this outlook will help in your ability to read the room.  When you spend time getting to know yourself you also learn about others.  Introspection leads the way to understanding yourself but also to understanding others as you are able to walk in their shoes and understand things from more than one perspective.

I believe it has been mentioned before that in To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch told his daughter Scout, you never really understand a person until you can walk in his shoes.
 

Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at jshea@alignment-group.com.  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.
 
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