Self-management comes before effective management. You must master yourself before you can successfully direct others. It’s time to be self-ish. By that, discover the value of self-management, self-awareness, and self-discipline in sales leaders.
Self-management is the ability to consciously manage your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. It requires a concerted effort, particularly during stressful times. And anyone in management knows stress comes with the job.
In the workplace, effectively managing yourself shows up in how you interact with people—co-workers, employees, customers, vendors, and management. You can be collaborative or combative, empathetic or disinterested, proactive or reactive, to name just a few. Self-regulation also impacts how you manage your time and tasks. Do you spend too much time on certain aspects of your job, to the detriment of those you’re ignoring?
Here are some examples of good self-management:
- Setting goals with an action plan and timeline to achieve each one.
- Holding yourself accountable.
- Staying focused on what you’re doing, such as listening to others without letting your mind wander or preparing your response while they’re still speaking.
- Creating a system to prevent distractions, which includes setting boundaries with others.
- Set priorities and stick to them.
- Understanding what it takes to motivate you, and, just as importantly, what doesn’t work.
- Knowing when and how to ask for help.
- Responding appropriately to others (e.g., controlling your emotions).
- Saying “no” when you need to manage your time or meet expectations (or both)..
- Accepting or initiating change to solve a problem.
- Asking for and giving constructive feedback.
These are important skills and traits for anyone, but for someone in sales management, you’re a role model. Think about what you’re modeling to your team. And when you see a behavior or action that isn’t useful, ask yourself if this is something they learned from you!
Time to get self-ish.
If you’re ready to get self-ish, let’s look at self-awareness. It’s one of the most important traits of emotional intelligence, which is a key indicator for the quality of leadership.
Self-awareness is defined as “your ability to perceive and understand the things that make you who you are as an individual, including your personality, actions, values, beliefs, emotions, and thoughts.” When you key into the reality of your behavior, decisions, and actions, you can see where change needs to happen. You can also leverage your strengths, even putting them to better use. Maybe you recognize that your listening skills could use work or that your ability to read people is something you can use to train your new home sales team.
People who are highly self-aware can and DO objectively view themselves. There’s no ego involved. They realize that improvement starts within. It can be hard to be brutally honest with yourself, but remember that no one else is watching or listening to your evaluation.
Be your own disciplinarian.
You start with self-awareness. Next, you need discipline to keep yourself on target. How many times have you promised to change a behavior, like losing weight or quitting smoking? Did you stick with it? The trigger for success is to recognize that once you give in to an impulse, you open the door to doing it again. “I’ll get back on track tomorrow” or “Just this one won’t hurt me.”
Yes, it hurts. That door is open because you didn’t have the discipline to keep it closed and locked. Now, you’ve created an exception, which allows for repeat behavior. Trust me. Keep that door shut. When you’re tempted to open it, ask yourself, “What will this misstep cost me?”
Over a century ago, Elbert Hubbard defined discipline as, “the ability to make yourself do the things you should do, when you should do them, whether you feel like it or not.”
The inherent pain in discipline is that you fight against your own urges. Your brain wages an intellectual battle between what you “want” and what you “should do”. Discipline drives you to keep working on yourself because, in your heart, you know you can do better. It’s what keeps you from compromising and accepting “good enough” as good enough. It never is.
Start with your “self”.
If you want to be better, start with yourself. Get self-ish so you can discover the value of self-management, self-awareness, and self-discipline in sales leaders. Strengthen your emotional intelligence so you can guide your new home sales team members to learn and grow with you. If you need help with sales leadership training, let me know!