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  • Writer's pictureKim Catania

The Duality of the Sales Leader Remit – How to Thrive, not merely Survive

In any organization dependent on a sales team for revenue growth and goal attainment, effective sales leaders are a must. The most successful organizations invest heavily in the selection, deployment and ongoing development of their sales leaders. Yet even in these organizations, sales leaders at all levels may struggle with the duality of their remit. Like most industries, a sales leader in the Life Sciences sector has two primary areas of responsibility and focus – To lead and develop their team, and to lead and grow the business.

Over the years there have been a handful of articles addressing this duality, musing on the role of corporate culture or organization maturation phase in tipping the balance one way or the other. These are valid considerations. Perhaps even more critical is what the sales leader himself or herself believes and embodies.

If you are a sales leader, consider for a moment your own beliefs and behaviors when it comes to leading your people and growing your business:

Is one more important than the other?

Do they require different knowledge, skills and expertise?

Are they mutually exclusive or synergistic?

Does one function as a catalyst of the other?

Are you personally equipped to excel at both?

Leadership means different things to different people at different times, depending on the situation. Rightfully so. But at its core, perhaps leadership really could be described as just one single thing:

Inspiring others to pursue a common vision with you.

It seems very simple. The execution is what makes it so challenging. Effective, inspiring sales leadership requires the skills, capabilities and commitment to embrace and embody both remits. It requires a commitment to continuous self-development in both people leadership and business acumen.

Of the traits and skills most often acknowledged for effective leadership, continuous learning is one that often draws the short straw. It seems daunting. Too time-consuming. Perhaps even unnecessary if one has been in role for some time.

Since the first publication of Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, business professionals have acknowledged the importance of ‘Sharpening the Saw’. Yet even 10 plus years after the publication of Mindset by the well-known Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, we still must remind ourselves to beware the pitfalls of a fixed mindset!

In a fixed mindset, people believe basic qualities like intelligence or talent are fixed traits. They believe intelligence and talent alone create success, without real effort. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.

People with a growth mindset believe intelligence and basic talents are just the starting point. They believe they can develop capabilities through dedication and hard work. Dr. Dweck’s decades of research documented this view creates a love of learning and resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. She posits virtually all great people embrace a growth mindset.

Consider this:

“Your mindset is the most important operating system in your life and business.” Mindsetmojo.com

I wholeheartedly agree.

Renowned motivational speaker and best-selling author Denis Waitley sums it up this way:

“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience."

Sage advice if you want to thrive as a Sales Leader.

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