Where Will Tomorrow’s Leaders Come From?

Tomorrows_Leaders

It’s no secret that the industry of inside sales continues to grow rapidly in terms of number of new jobs created.  A recent study indicated that 250,000 new jobs will be created in the next 3-4 years.  With that comes more and more openings for frontline managers, directors, and senior leaders.  The title of VP of Inside Sales was a rarity only a few years ago.  Today, recruiters are struggling to find experienced enough leaders to take on these more senior roles.  Those of us managing inside sales today need to take on the challenge as we focus on developing tomorrow’s leaders. Here are three tips to help get you started.

#1  DELEGATE OFTEN – Delegation is not only a smart thing to do to help a manager juggle all of the projects and priorities on their plate, its an excellent way to help surface those reps who have the skill, aptitude, and passion to lead.  Watching individuals perform tasks, hold meetings, and rally support is a good “test” for them and can indicate who might have the ability and desire to aspire to a leadership position.

#2  PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY  – Although I am a firm believer that development is more the responsibility of the individual, vs their boss, there are many things a leader can do to provide great opportunities for training and development.  Once you have identified an individual, here are just a few ideas to consider:

–          Have them shadow you and assist on projects they might not normally participate on.  This helps expose them to other leaders while helping solve issues.

–          Have them read some books or articles on a relevant team related topic and then present back to the group what they learned along with some ideas to help the team.

–          Have them attend a conference such as the AA-ISP Leadership Summit in order to be exposed to a wide variety of tips, trends and leadership best practices.

# 3 PROMOTE THEM – When an individual is ready for either their first step into a new management role, or perhaps a move to a 2nd line director or sr. leader, it’s important that we fully support them.  In larger organizations it may be easier to accomplish this based on new opportunities that come available.  However, where no internal opportunity exists, you may need to support an individual even if it means they move on to another organization.  Although this may be difficult, it will ultimately help the individual grow and gain the needed experience and challenge.

A shortage of candidates exists today, especially at the senior leadership level of inside sales.  For the future health of our great profession, we all need to take on the challenge of developing tomorrow’s leaders!

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