We consistently talk about the importance of growing and developing others. It’s a vital part of any leadership role. But as a leader, while you’re busy helping others grow their talents, are you still nurturing yours?
When you focus on growing a talent, you can improve performance by up to ten times. Don’t just help your team take advantage of their potential. Take advantage of your potential as well.
Here are five things you can do right now to nurture and grow your sales leadership talents.
1. Establish a Personal Board of Directors
A Board of Directors at a corporation consults on important decisions, helps maintain accountability, and serves as a guide for the corporation’s overall strategic direction.
A Personal Board of Directors is very similar! This is the group of people you consult on important decisions in your life and rely on to help hold you accountable – both personally and professionally.
Reflect on a recent time when you looked to others for guidance, advice, or support. Who did you turn to? Those people are currently serving on your Personal Board of Directors. Now, think about others who have knowledge, expertise, or experience that would help you grow in your leadership role. These people could be colleagues, mentors, friends, or even family members.
Once you’ve identified these “prospects,” connect with them and invite them to have a seat on your Personal Board of Directors. Work to continually build strong relationships with your new Board members, keep them updated on your accomplishments and show appreciation for their support.
In addition, think about the people whose Boards you serve on. Are you consistently living up to their expectations? Is there anyone’s Board you can set a goal to be a part of?
2. Seek Valuable Feedback
Studies show that those who receive consistent and meaningful feedback improve their performance by 40% more than those who do not. As a leader, providing feedback is a part of your daily role. Your feedback helps others recognize things they’re doing well and gives them insight into areas they’re working to improve.
The feedback you receive from others is equally as important as the feedback you provide to others. Your team has valuable insights into the things you’re doing well (and yes, also not as well). These are things you can’t always see – you’re too busy leading! Be open to feedback by asking for honest opinions, listening with an open mind, and acting on the suggestions that resonate with you.
As it is with your team, understanding how you’re using your innate strengths today and where you have potential for growth is the magic potion. Conducting a 360 survey that’s built specifically around your top talents is an effective way to gain an understanding of the talents others see within you. From there, you can put a clear and specific plan in place to grow your strengths.
3. “Check Yo Self Before You Wreck Yo Self”
Imagine one of your Account Executives just walked through your door with an envelope in her hand. You can tell by her body language that the conversation probably isn’t going to be positive. As she sits down across from you, she slowly slides the envelope in your direction. You pick it up off of your desk and unfold a short, typed letter that notifies you of her formal resignation. She and her family are relocating across the country.
So, what do you choose to do? Time to cue IceCube’s 1993 hit song.
Talent is your innate ability to accomplish something, but mindset is the set of instructions you give yourself to accomplish it. Unlike talent, you have the ability to change your mindset. Your attitudes and beliefs can be shaped by the things happening around you – but you have the power to take control.
In the case of your Account Executive, you could choose to let this ruin your day, your week, or even your month. “Why did she have to leave? Think about the extra work this will put on everyone on the team! How will I EVER find someone to replace her in this job market?”
Or, you could choose to adopt a mindset that embraces the change. “This change gives me the opportunity to evaluate the overall strengths and weaknesses of my team. I have the power to hire someone with the right talent and the right fit for the job. This is a chance for me to pull a strong candidate from my Talent Bank.”
“Check yo self” by identifying the mindset you want to be known for and then give yourself the instructions to succeed.
4. Embrace Learning and Development
Your role as a leader isn’t always going to stay the same, so neither can you. Take advantage of the opportunities you have to learn. Some of the best learning opportunities are the challenges that come your way, and with the right mindset, you can take advantage of them. Recap and review what happened to identify what you will change about your approach the next time a similar issue arises.
It’s also important to continuously take advantage of formal learning opportunities. Keep an eye out for online courses, seminars, or webinars that pique your interest. In-person workshops are great opportunities for learning and development, too. As an added bonus, they provide you with a built-in opportunity for networking.
5. Keep the Promises You’ve Made to Yourself
Last, but certainly not least, always keep the promises you’ve made to yourself.
Have you ever set an appointment on your calendar with someone and made the conscious decision not to show up? Chances are, you probably haven’t (unless it was the dentist…). On the other hand, most of us frequently make the conscious decision not to hold ourselves accountable for the commitments we’ve made to ourselves. It’s simple to make excuses when the only person you’re answering to is yourself.
Commit to one strategy you can use to grow your sales leadership talents. Use your calendar to set aside time for the specific action you’ve committed to taking and make sure you’re aware of the benefits the action will provide. A strong understanding of the ROI is an effective way to hold yourself accountable.
If you still need additional incentives to keep your appointment with yourself, consider linking it with something you love. For example, only allow yourself to have your cup of coffee once you’ve spent time evaluating your mindset for the day.
Growing the talents of your team members is important, but don’t leave yourself behind! If you aren’t growing, you truly aren’t going anywhere. The best managers know their own strengths and commit to continuous growth and improvement. Remember, even if you only improve by 1% every day, at the end of the year, you will improve by 365%.
So, are you ready to take the first step?