Even with all the efforts employees may put forth to salvage a once positive work environment, at the core of every toxic working environment is the toxic boss, manager, or supervisor. All roads go back to the manager. And if the manager isn’t willing to change, then it’s a safe bet that nothing will.
That’s why to impact long-lasting change, managers need to upgrade their style and approach.
Throughout my years of coaching managers, business owners, and executives, I’ve been able to identify seven types of managers. Use these seven types of managers as examples to identify the critical competencies necessary to become an effective sales coach. It all starts with the way we communicate. Which one best describes you or your boss?
1. The Problem-Solving Manager
This boss is task-driven and focused on achieving goals. These problem solvers are constantly putting out fires and leading by chaos. The paradox here is this: It is often the manager who creates the very problems and situations that they work so hard to avoid. Continually providing solutions often results in the lackluster performance that they are working so diligently to eliminate.
2. The Pitchfork Manager
People who manage by a pitchfork are doing so with a heavy and often controlling hand: demanding progress, forcing accountability, prodding and pushing for results through the use of threats and fear tactics. This style of tough, ruthless management is painful for people who are put in a position where they are pushed to avoid consequences rather than pulled toward a desired goal.
3. The Pontificating Manager
These managers will readily admit they don’t follow any particular type of management strategy. Instead, they shoot from the hip, making it up as they go along, often generating sporadic, inconsistent results. As a result, they often find themselves in situations that they are unprepared for. Interestingly, the Pontificating Manager thrives on situations like this. Often adrenaline junkies themselves, these managers are in desperate need of developing the second most essential proficiency of a coach: masterful listening. The Pontificating Manager is the type of manager who can talk to anyone and immediately make people feel comfortable. This character strength becomes a crutch to their leadership style, often blinding them to the need to further systemize their approach. As a matter of fact, the only thing consistent about these managers is their inconsistency.
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4. The Presumptuous Manager
Presumptuous Managers focus more on themselves than anything else. To them, their personal production, recognition, sales quotas, and bonuses take precedence over their people and the value they are responsible for building within each person on their team. Presumptuous Managers often put their personal needs and objectives above the needs of their team. As you can imagine, Presumptuous Managers experience more attrition, turnover, and problems relating to managing a team than any other type of manager. Presumptuous Managers are typically assertive and confident individuals. However, they are typically driven by their ego to look good and outperform the rest of the team. Presumptuous Managers breed unhealthy competition rather than an environment of collaboration.
5. The Perfect Manager
Perfect Managers possess some wonderful qualities. These managers are open to change, innovation, and personal growth with the underlying commitment to continually improve and evolve as sales managers, almost to a fault. This wonderful trait often becomes their weakness. In their search for the latest and greatest approach, like Pontificating Managers, Perfect Managers never get to experience the benefit of consistency. This manager is a talking spec sheet. Their emphasis on acquiring more facts, figures, features, and benefits has overshadowed the ability of Perfect Managers to recognize the critical need for soft skills training around the areas of presenting, listening, questioning, prospecting, and the importance of following an organized, strategic selling system. Perfect Managers rely on their vast amount of product knowledge and experience when managing and developing their salespeople. Because of this great imbalance, these manager often fall short on developing their interpersonal skills that would make them more human than machine.
6. The Passive Manager
Also referred to as Parenting Managers or Pleasing Managers, Passive Managers take the concept of developing close relationships with their team and coworkers to a new level. These managers have one ultimate goal: to make people happy. While this is certainly an admirable trait, it can quickly become a barrier to leadership efforts if not managed effectively. Although wholesome and charming, this type of boss is viewed as incompetent, inconsistent, and clueless, often lacking the respect they need from their employees in order to effectively build a championship team. You can spot a Passive Manager by looking at their team and the number of people who should have been fired long ago. Because all Passive Managers want to do is please, they are more timid and passive in their approach. These managers will do anything to avoid confrontation and mistake holding people accountable with confrontation and conflict.
7. The Proactive Manager
The Proactive Manager encompasses all of the good qualities that the other types of managers possess, yet without all of their pitfalls. Here are the characteristics that this ideal manager embodies, as well as the ones for you to be mindful of and develop yourself. The Proactive Manager possesses the
- Persistence, edge, and genuine authenticity of the Pitchfork Manager
- Confidence of the Presumptuous Manager
- Enthusiasm, passion, charm, and presence of the Pontificating Manager
- Drive to support others and spearhead solutions like the Problem-Solving Manager
- Desire to serve, respectfulness, sensitivity, nurturing ability, and humanity of the Passive Manager
- Product and industry knowledge, sales acumen, efficiency, focus, organization, and passion for continued growth just like the Perfect Manager
The Proactive Manager is the ultimate manager and coach, and a testimonial to the additional skills and coaching competencies that every manager needs to develop in order to build a world-class team.
If you happen to have missed the book launch, my new book, Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions has several chapters dedicated to these manager types and how you can transition into the Proactive Manager.