(reading time: 3 minutes)

Similar to entrepreneurship, sales gives people a way to tie their income to their efforts in a more direct and independent way than almost any other position. Salespeople tend to see themselves as lone wolves, independent employees within a larger organization who get to control their own destiny.

However, this isn’t how it always works in practice. Salespeople have control, but only so much. They work closely with other parts of the organization, especially with sales managers, who can have a major impact on their jobs and performances. A great sales manager can be a godsend, while a bad one can make your life – and paycheck – miserable.

So how can you tell the difference between a sales manager you can trust and one you can’t? Here are five sure signs that your sales manager isn’t one that you should ever count on:

1. She plays favorites

Nothing kills team morale faster than a sales manager who gives preferential treatment to one or two salespeople who she likes more than anyone else. (Of course, the caveat here is that some salespeople get preferential treatment because they’re highly effective and management knows they’re more likely to close leads that are sent their way.) Even so, opportunities should be spread around equally, because the alternative breeds distrust, contempt, and a sense of unfairness. If your sales manager obviously favors someone specific – especially if it’s not tied to performance – run the other way.

2. He doesn’t seem to care about your career

A great sales manager will care about your career and take an active role in helping you succeed instead of treating you like a stepping stone to help him get to where he wants to go next. This is exemplified through frequent one on one meetings, objective advice, and yes, occasional tough love. On the flip side, a sales manager you can’t trust reminds you – through words or actions – that you’re replaceable. He only cares about what you’re doing insomuch as it benefits them personally.

3. He doesn’t take responsibility

If you’re working for a sales manager who finds someone else to blame when something goes wrong, then it’s only a matter of time before his ire will be directed at you. President Harry S. Truman popularized the phrase, “The buck stops here,” a reference to taking responsibility. Unfortunately, being critical of oneself isn’t easy and not everyone feels the same way Truman did about owning their mistakes. So if you have a sales manager who likes to shift blame away from himself but has no problem with taking all the glory, you might want to consider moving on.

4. She keeps making the same mistakes

Everyone has heard the famous quote about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But, not all sales managers have applied it to their own behavior. If you happen to work for a manager who is unable to think toward the future, try new things, pivot, adapt, and question the way things work, then it’s only a matter of time before the company’s (and your own) fortunes will take a nosedive. The world is changing faster than ever, and those who are unable to learn from their mistakes and adapt are becoming an endangered species.

5. He doesn’t work as hard as the sales team

If your sales manager likes to lock himself in an office all day and read ESPN, then you might be working for someone who has little interest in your success. This is a huge red flag, because not only does it show that he doesn’t care much about what’s going on, it also shows that he thinks he’s above doing the work. The sales managers you want to work for are the ones who work their tail off, as hard, or harder than the sales team. A promotion into management shouldn’t mean less work, it should mean more responsibility to others. If your sales manager doesn’t understand that, then you shouldn’t trust him.

And even if you can’t trust your sales manager, hopefully you have Spiro’s Proactive Relationship Management platform that you know you can!

Share this post:

About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply