March 19

Coronavirus, Sales Leadership And Lessons From a Post-Op Nurse


Leaders all over the world are being tested by the business impact of the coronavirus. Sales leaders charged with achieving revenue goals, are right in the thick of things. There are some businesses actually thriving because they sell the products that people and companies are buying up as fast as possible.

Others---not so much. They’re looking at sales pipelines that look as empty as the grocery store shelves.

Sales leaders will use different approaches to lead their team through tough times. Some will use motivation and talk about how we are all in this together. This too, shall pass. Other sales leaders will hold apply a problem solving approach and hold meetings with their sales team figure out what they can control and do.   

There’s another approach to incorporate into your sales leadership processes: Address the fear of emotion, which is raising its big, ugly head right now.

Fear is the great paralyzer of thoughts and actions.

That’s why it’s important to address otherwise, your good advice and inspiring rhetoric falls on deaf and “paralyzed” ears.

During these trying times, I am reminded of a wonderful post-op nurse that demonstrated the ability to deal with fear. A few years ago, my husband had a knee replacement and unfortunately, the hospital protocol for administering pain medication failed dramatically. And on top of that, his nurse had flunked the course in empathy. After a miserable night, he was introduced to the next nurse on staff, Sharon. I’ll never forget her words.

“Jim, my name is Sharon and I’ve been a post-op nurse for 15 years. I want you to know that today is probably going to be one of the worst days of your life -- and I’m going to be here every step of the way to get you through it.”

My husband’s face and body relaxed. Until that moment, his fear was that the excruciating pain was an indicator that something, other than poor pain management, was terribly wrong. Maybe the surgeon had screwed up. Maybe there was an infection brewing.

By Sharon calmly stating that he was going to have one more rough day meant that this post-op pain was normal.

Fear dissipated.

Her kind words of “I’m going to get you through this” communicated that an empathetic person was on duty, not just another nurse reading electronic medical charts. Sharon was tuned into both the emotional temperature of her patient AND his body temperature.

Sales managers, in these chaotic times, deal with fear head-on. Share with your team that this is probably going to be the toughest ride they’ve ever experienced in business.

It’s not going to be easy, but you will be there every step of the way.

Good Selling! 


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