Dear Workforce How Do We Address the Troublesome Behavior of Sales Supervisors

By Staff Report

Dec. 30, 2004

Dear Affronted:

The age-old question asked by those we want to change is: ‘why should I, when my results prove that what I’m doing works?’ Unfortunately, they’re usually right, at least at first glance and in the short run. However, truly effective organizations have criteria for appropriate behavior that extend beyond what seems expedient for the moment.

Behaviors that support organizational effectiveness generally fall into two categories: values and vision. In most organizations, there exists a generally accepted point of view about how business is to be conducted. This point of view constitutes the basis for the organization’s values.

If the organization’s values include a commitment to treating people with dignity and respect, the supervisors’ behaviors are probably out of bounds and may subject them to disciplinary action. If your organization lacks such values, formal or informal, this might be a good time to take the lead in establishing them.

Aside from the likelihood that supervisors’ behaviors contribute to high turnover, employee dissatisfaction and even lawsuits, there’s the issue of how this directly affects business results and the corporate vision. Since the vision for the business probably includes specific performance targets relating to profitability, quality, customer service and so on, it’s hard to believe there’s no negative impact from your supervisors’ boorish behavior. Likewise, abused employees have little motivation to support the company vision–another impediment to business success.

How do the supervisors’ attitudes adversely affect your bottom line? Once you answer that question you’ll have a solid case for change. If sales supervisors see themselves as only accountable to the sales department, and not for the business overall, you have identified one problem. Present them with the facts and encourage them to change. Should they persist in their abusive behaviors, explain the next disciplinary steps to them. If nobody else is interested, CEOs and owners certainly should be.

SOURCE: Kevin Herring, president, Ascent Management Consulting, Tucson, Arizona, Feb. 10, 2004.

LEARN MORE:A Culture of Leadership.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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