Being a good manager is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. The first time you try to fit the pieces together, it takes a while to get everything to fit smoothly. The second time you attempt to make the pieces fit, you are a little more familiar with the pattern. Each time after that, it becomes more and more natural to easily match everything together and have it all turn out right.

The pieces of the puzzle a manager has to put together are:
1. advertising
2. recruiting
3. holding productive meetings
4. motivating a person who is in an emotional or financial slump
5. handling types of personalities they don’t relate to
6. recruiting people that are happy on other jobs, but are ready for change.

All of these techniques combined together make a great manager. In fact, great managers have ten characteristics, and if each of these ten characteristics is developed, you will become a great leader and a great manager.

Let’s start off with quality number one. The very first thing we find in a great manager is a total commitment to building a team that functions in unison to reach their goals. Great managers realize they are a team. Their team is made up of individuals that have different beliefs, values, and ideals, but they all have to function in unison to reach the goals of the company.

The second characteristic we find in a great manager is they live what they teach and they command respect by their example. You can’t be one thing and say another because you’ll lose respect. It’s not that important that your salespeople just like and admire you. It is important that they respect you first ?the other things will follow.

Quality number three is very important. Great managers don't become buddies. They practice business detachment with subordinates off the job.

Number four is also very important. Don’t play favorites. What do I mean by this? Make a mental note of the words ‘justice?and ‘fairness.? These two words are critical in leadership ?that you are totally just and totally fair through everything. You’re going to have to realize that if you play favorites in the office, the group will know it, and you will lose respect. Not only that, they start saying to themselves, “The reason I’m not doing good is not my skills, not my ability. I’ve got a manger that gives the best business to other people. I can’t make it.?And by the way, the person you’re playing favorites with over the years can be the one that will cause you the biggest challenge when you go through change in policy or leadership, or when you really need something done. So remember, just be fair and don’t play favorites!

Number five is so critical. Great managers develop future vision. They see their company position, their market share, and their competitive edge in the future. But great managers also have to start seeing themselves in the future, the office in the future, the number of salespeople they’ll have, and how they are going to delegate. How do you develop future vision? It comes back to having a plan and a goal. You must learn how to delegate authority and eventually replace yourself. What do you delegate? Anything you can train anyone else to do which keeps you from doing three things: recruiting, managing, and training.

Number six. They attack pending problems and rapidly make tough decisions. Average managers don’t make decisions. In fact, they make decisions so slowly, that eventually there is no need for a decision. What they had to decide upon has already taken place, so there is no need to do anything, you see? Now, as far as making decisions about managing your office, there’s one thing I want to warn you about. Until you totally learn your skill of managing, rely on the people above you and run decisions past them. Rely on others for your knowledge and growth until, of course, you have all the answers.

Don’t forget number seven if you really want to build a great sales force: promote risk-taking. You want to promote risk-taking with your salespeople. What do I mean by risk-taking? I’m talking about your salespeople going out a little bit on the edge as to the things they own, the things they buy, and the way they live. In essence, they must gradually ‘up? their overhead as you teach them to ‘up?their income. As a good manager, we help people increase their overhead with balance, so that as they grow income-wise, they also grow emotionally and enjoy their income. Promote risk-taking. Teach your salespeople they have to take a little risk in order to grow.

And don’t forget number eight. Great managers are specialized at recruiting, training, and retaining top people. That is a great manager’s main specialty. Becoming a great trainer or teacher is necessary, because if you can't duplicate yourself and the concepts you used as a super salesperson, you won't be able to complete the entire puzzle.

Now number nine is interesting. Good managers look at change as healthy. Change excites an office. It keeps people on their toes. It motivates people to go far beyond what they normally would, and not only that, it keeps people out of a rut. That’s why great managers don’t do the same thing every day. They don’t come in at the same time every day. They don’t eat lunch at the same time every day. They keep everyone on their toes. I’ll tell you a basic truth about salespeople: if you have a set schedule, they will develop their schedule right around yours.

The last characteristic great managers must learn is to help people change their self-images by using their individual needs to be comfortable. Salespeople lack confidence because they are afraid and don't know what is going to happen to them. A manager’s job is not only to instill confidence, but also to increase the way salespeople look at themselves. You see, self-image is a mirror reflection of who you think you are. It may not be who you are. Your goal is to develop your salespeople and to get them to grow far beyond their wildest dreams. It starts with how they see themselves

So, how do you develop the characteristics of a great manager? Well, first of all, you must work harder on yourself than you do on your job because you are totally in the people business, aren’t you? Copyright 1996 Tom Hopkins International

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hopkins has dedicated his life to training the sales professional. For more than 25 years, Mr. Hopkins has personally trained over 3 million students on five different continents. Mr. Hopkins is the author of nine books, including “Selling for Dummies?and the best-selling, “How to Master the Art of Selling,?which has sold more than 1.3 million copies and has been translated into ten languages. For more information, contact Tom Hopkins International at (800) 528-0446, e-mail us at, or visit our website at