I came across an article in the German Newspaper Die Zeit which has inspired me to write yet my next post on this blog. The title of the article is “Why Managers should Encourage their Employees”.
I am sure that it is all just pure coincidence that I am finding blog posts and articles, which strongly inspire me and coincide with me thoughts.
It is probably a very normal thing that in times of crisis, and we are in crisis now for some years, the level of trust in companies is decrease and the level of control is increased. Whilst I know that there are always some people who will abuse the trust and simply rely on the performance there will be others who take the crisis as an additional motivator.
I remember that in my old company I did not even have to ask explicitly my manager for his discount delegation on each opportunity. He knew that I would use it upon need and that he could trust me. Most of you might think that this would have meant by default that I have always used his full delegation. In contrary it made me try to sell for higher prices and less discount. Causing pride in me that I was able to sell more on the value side.
Today’s models seem to go in the opposite direction. There is hardly any trust into the troops whatsoever. Each and every step has to be justified and commented. Sometimes it reminds me of my childhood when my parents checked if I really did my homework. Of course as a child I was probably not always conscious that doing my homework was also to my own benefit. I can assure you that making the calls necessary to achieve my sales targets is in my DNA and there is not set number per day or per week that will make me do so. It really depends on each and every situation. Also I am the one who will most suffer if I do not, I will simply not make my commissions. Why this lack of trust?
Trust is a key driver of motivation. Motivation in turn is the driver to better results. I have not read in any book that control is driving motivation nor results.
Last year I had a very interesting case in which I made a personal bet on the technology SAP has just released called HANA. I immediately believed that this was a great story and a great way to have a new conversation in front of our customers but even better in front of customers who were not yet customers of us.
Said and done. I started to work with a customer who did not have a single piece of infrastructure from us and even more with a partner that worked until that moment only with our competition. There were some who said to me “are you crazy??? They are just going to play with you!” There was something that made me feel that it was not the case, this comes back to my previous post that Sales is not just technique. I can say very proudly that management backed me and I was able to proceed with all I needed. This has led to not only to us winning the very first HANA deal in Spain but also to win at more customers positioning our solution in front of all. It was the trust in our solution, of my management in me and myself in me that really motivated, THANKS!
The deal above is just an example but it is actually much more significant because I was not only given trust but also the freedom to do things probably in a very different way we have done in the past. Management should encourage employees to feel freedom, the more freedom they have and trust the less the cases of abuse. In the contrary there are studies that show that the reduction of freedom and trust also lead automatically to a reduction in the performance of the employees.
Honesty & Friendliness
I did not want to miss these two points as well since these are values if shared will be an additional driver for the teams. My experience when leading teams was that it is key to be honest with them and share the information as much as possible with them. It made them automatically part of what we have been working on but even more they felt they I trusted them. I can assure you that this is not an easy task and you will see that not everybody deserves your trust be default, but the results are worth the journey. In tough times it is especially important to make everybody feel involved. On the other side make sure to not commit the mistake of “Preaching Water and Drinking Champagne” then you loose trust immediately and create the opposite.
Friendliness is very important. A good friend of mine said “You will be amazed by what people might offer you if you ask them kindly”. I truly second this phrase since we all prefer to be treated friendly then to be unfriendliness or bossiness. Also is it not much nicer when you feel that people appreciate you and smile when you come to talk to them instead of being afraid? Fear is the strongest inhibitor of thought, creativity and motivation.
This is as always very personal but I hope you share my thoughts. Good Weekend from @CochesDiez