Dealing With the Egos

One of the primary challenges your are going to face when managing people, especially salespeople, is the wide range of egos.  Everyone has one.  You have one as well.  Admit it.  It  can work for you or against you.

When it comes to egos, I like to define my job as part manager, part psychologist.  Every personality and ego is different.  One is a Type-A extrovert who demands a lot of attention.  Another is a quiet, go-with-the-flow individual who just keeps his nose to the grind stone.

The biggest challenge with individual egos comes when the rubber meets the road.  When their performance is less than minimal expectations and they are put on a performance improvement plan, you instantly go from being their hero to being the reason for their poor performance.  Everything is now “your fault.”

Even great performers let their ego get too big and that, perhaps, is the bigger challenge.  A year ago, one of my most consistent and strongest performers seemed to feel he had “arrived.”  You know the type.  Their “stuff” doesn’t stink and they can’t get into trouble for cutting a special deal without approval because they’re too valuable.

Eventually this rep started ignoring expectations of the company and started missing set meetings with me.  Yes, he was performing at a high level, but seriously….  When he refused to participate in a coaching session that I was doing with all of my reps and then proceeded to tell me that “there isn’t anything you can tell me or show me that I don’t already know,” that I knew we had hit the bottom.

What do you do in this case?  You can let it poison the well or you take quick steps to cut it off where it sits.  The hystrionics caused by the dismissal were huge, but it also sent a message — he was out of line and that behavior was unacceptable.

I hated it.  If he can get hs head on straight, he can be one of the greats in sales, but that’s just it.  You can be extremely talented and be the “greatest gift to mankind,” but if your ego is out of control, you’ll find yourself in a very tough spot.

To grow your team and maintain consistency, manage the egos.  Put your psychologist coat on and play the role.  Your reps will thank you for it.

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