One of the most difficult things in leadership, and in life, is to recognize and admit when we have made mistakes or might have done things differently.
As we develop more skills in leadership, we begin to see mistakes as opportunities for growth, improvement, and innovation when we can look at them through a lens without judgment or blame.
Leaders Make Mistakes
A “mistake” is often defined as an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong. Sadly that is a restricted and unrealistic thought paradigm. Our ability as leaders to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them requires the opposite mindset of viewing mistakes as being simply right or wrong.
There is no successful leader who has not made a host of mistakes.
“If you are not making mistakes, then you are not doing anything,” said celebrated UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. The best leaders are humble enough to admit their mistakes while not losing their focus and perseverance.
This attitude defines those who grow, learn, and keep going toward the achievement of their goals from those who are unable to refocus and redirect when they miss the mark. The key is understanding that you will make mistakes as a leader of your sales teams and that you have full power to course correct and learn from them, at any time.
Common Mistakes Sales Managers Make When Leading Their Team
Below are several common mistakes sales managers make when leading their sales teams:
- Not recognizing that some of the qualities that made you successful and got you to your leadership position will not translate to success at this next level.
- Failure to understand that your former colleagues on the sales team, and sometimes your friends, have now become your direct reports and require your direction and accountability.
- Inability to understand and differentiate between what is the highest priority and most urgent from the important day-to-day activities.
- Feeling pressure to create a perfect sales team that is consistently functional and high performing.
- Investing in everyone else except yourself.
Questions That Help You Grow As a Leader
When you find yourself with some of these mistakes above it can be helpful to ask several questions to strengthen that attitude of learning and growing as a leader.
- “What do I feel good about in this situation?”
- “What might I have done differently or encouraged others to do differently?”
- “How can I avoid repeating this mistake in the future?”
Jeff Bezos recently tweeted the following sentiment in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Amazon:
'It’s been far from smooth. Lots of risk-taking, lots of invention, lots of mistakes, so much we still have to do better. I wouldn’t trade the ride for anything.'
So keep making room for mistakes and all that they have to teach you as a leader and champion for your team members.