Think about the worst sales manager you’ve ever had. What about them irked you the most? Did he compare you unfairly with others? Was no accomplishment ever good enough? Did she monitor your every move, never allowing you to ever feel in control?
Relax. Put that person out of your mind. You’ve had worse.
Our worst manager is probably still with us.
Indeed, that jerk that we slaved under years ago may be gone. But someone more ruthless may have stepped in to take her place. It’s the one person with the ability to always slip past our defenses – ourselves.
Our problem is not in handling poor managers, but in being one.
Think about it. Managers grow frustrated with employees who can’t take criticism. And, we employees despise being crticized unfairly. Yet, as evil as this atrocity is, we freely commit it on ourselves. We search far and wide for managers who don’t micromanage but ironically expect our days to go perfectly to plan. We hate when the boss plays favorites while, at the same time, we put others on a pedestal as somehow better than we could ever achieve.
Doesn’t criticism make us better?
No, improvement does. That doesn’t mean all criticism is bad. When it originates from and is delivered with respect and care, criticism can be life-saving. The problem is in the packaging. When used correctly, criticism is a fire that can forge us like steel. Shame, on the other hand, is a gas can to be thrown on that fire, only more dangerous. If we allow it, shame triggers our internal tyrant to take over and magnify any criticism to harmful and unproductive levels.
Self-criticism: we don’t wear it well.
Your worst managers (the external ones) may have also been critical of themselves. Does that make their actions any easier to take? Humility and self-acceptance, can free our minds to focus on others. Conversley, what good are we doing anyone else when we down ourselves? We may even risk becoming someone else’s worst boss.
Don’t criticize, Accept.
Upon admitting we have a problem with negative self-talk, we can start the challenging process of accepting ourselves and others. Psychologiy pioneers like Albert Ellis and David Burns have done some life-changing work in this area. Anyone who lacks the patience to read their books should subscribe to this blog where I often summarize their findings.
Accepting yourself, regardless of faults and mistakes, will make you both a happier and better person. And yes, this will help you be a better salesperson as well. We may indeed still be our own worst sales manager. Now, at last, we can do something about it.