October 22

Are You a Lone Ranger Sales Manager?


You are self-directed.

You are decisive.

You are independent.

You also might be a lone ranger, which is a sales manager that doesn’t ask for or seek advice from others. This behavior is not due to arrogance. It’s usually because of the attributes listed above, which might serve you well in your sales leadership position. But they also can become an Achilles’ heel in your growth as an effective sales leader. Why?

Because you end up operating in a bubble, missing out on the wisdom, advice and perspective of others.

For example, holding a crucial sales coaching conversation is part of the job as a sales leader, even when you’ve assembled a good sales team. It’s important that these conversations are conducted in a thoughtful, assertive manner. These critical conversations require practice.

But the lone ranger sales manager has no one to practice with because she hasn’t built a network of colleagues. As a result, she hears no feedback on her tonality, choice of words or even facial expressions as she prepares for this crucial sales coaching conversation.

The sales managers intention to help a member of her team is good.  But without practice and feedback from others, good intentions fall flat. The salesperson leaves the coaching conversation feeling defensive and discouraged rather than inspired to do better and be better.  

Apply the EQ skill of self-awareness and ask these powerful questions: Am I a lone ranger? Am I relying only on my brilliance and assume I have all the answers?

You don’t have to figure out everything yourself. Apply another EQ skill, impulse control. Slow down and reach out to other sales leaders. Create a sales leadership mastermind group where participants can ask questions, challenge each other or simply offer an ear of support.

One of the more famous mastermind groups was called the Vagabonds. Its members included Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Warren G. Harding and Harvey Firestone.  I suspect much of their success was due to eliminating lone-ranger thinking and behavior.

A sales leadership mastermind group provides a safe haven to ask questions and/or challenge each other about issues such as: 

  • Onboarding new hires during a pandemic. What are your peers doing to make new hires feel welcome and engaged?
  • What are key questions and assessments other managers use when hiring new sellers? (Note: There are some great interview questions in my new book, “Emotional Intelligence For Sales Leadership.”)
  • How are other sales managers reorganizing their teams to meet the changing business environment and ensuing demands from their clients?
  • What are they doing to create a learning sales culture?

Sales managers, you don’t have to go it alone. It’s great that you are self-directed and goal-oriented. However, apply the EQ skill of self-awareness.

Are these attributes serving you or hindering you in the development of your sales leadership skills and your sales team?

Good Selling!


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