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Does it Take People Skills to Manage?

Often I am dumbfounded, mystified, shocked and even heart broken at managers who have no idea how to manage. I know there are wonderful motivating Sales Managers out there. I am not addressing you. Hopefully you know who you are. Management has been part of my career although I choose now to enjoy my first love, outside B2B sales. It has been very good to me over the years and I have made more than enough money to survive; most of the time.

The sales profession, which I believe is the greatest profession in the world, is an attitude driven profession. Your heart must be in your product or service you offer. I also believe you must have at least a semblance of good feelings for the company you bring your beloved clients money into. You work hard, face diversity, rejection while you wade through a sea of no’s just to hear that one wonderful, YES! “I’m buying what you are selling”.

A manager with no people skills can kill with a dagger, right in the heart, all motivation you have, if you do not protect yourself. Somewhere along the way some managers forget, or maybe never heard the words my Mama said to me a thousand times, “you catch more flies with Honey than with vinegar” I am sure she was talking about us sales people with our fragile egos. Just because a Sales Manager is not selling to a client doesn’t mean they don’t need tact. I believe a Sales Manager should handle the Revenue Producers with some respect. Taking into consideration, that most likely, if your attitude stinks, so goes your sales. I believe it takes people skills to be in sales and I also believe it takes just as much, if not more to manage those people, with people skills. At least this is my opinion. - by MPrince
I agree. What I have realized is that there seems to be no standard in how people become managers. Many fail to realize that the role is almost that of a parent, or a mentor, or a coach. People skills are an essential must, yet many become managers just by seniority, esp. in the Engineering world where a great technical engineer might be the worst demotivating manager for the group, never giving positive feedback, never making those that report under him/her feel valued, giving unequal loads (usually 'rewarding' the efficient worker with 'more work' while the slow and inefficient is given more help and less work). And when people quit because of bad management, the response in general is to find a replacement for the employee that left instead of finding the root cause of the employee's displeasure (the manager). A manager's role is to ensure the employee has the resources to do the job and get out of the way to allow the employee to be productive. An employee has to 'want' to go to work, not that they 'have' to go to work. The manager has lot of control in fostering one attitude over the other. - by MrAngelCruz
Hi there M&M.... sn;

The best managers I had were from Connecticut General, now CIGNA. At CIGNA we had basically 5 things we needed to accomplish.
1) Study
2) Practice
3) Present
4) Develop
5) Implement

At each stage, we had a manager/mentor. Each was a professional and or expert in their field. All were producers and were required to continue producing while managing their individual segments. I think that is an important distinction compared to what I'm seeing at AFLAC, for example.

You have to be results oriented at some point in your managing. When I think about managing personality, I think about Carnegie skills in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
  1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six Ways to Make People Like You
  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a man's Name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in the terms of the other man's interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
  1. Avoid arguments.
  2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
  3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
  6. Let the other person do the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  9. Sympathize with the other person.
  10. Appeal to noble motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to other people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes first.
  4. Ask questions instead of directly giving orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise every improvement.
  7. Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.
I got this from Wikipedia, so it's content might be tarnished some, but this is essentially what I think a manager should be doing.

Do you have to be the life of the party? No! Do you have to have the salesman's interest at heart? YES! Do you have to "own" his success? In my opinion, yes.

Much Aloha.... T/T ;bg

:cool: - by rattus58
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