I was surfing MSN.Com today and came across a really good article called Seven Deadly Workplace Sins. I really should write more on this type of topic, because many people in all careers fall into these seven career traps. However, I think in the high paced and high ego world of sales and marketing the problem is frequently magnified because so many very young high performing sales people get promoted into positions they are not yet ready for emotionally. When this happens, everyone looses. The company looses a high performing sales person, the newly promoted manager is set up to fail, and oftentimes fired or demoted, and frequently the team suffers because the new immature manager actually drives down production and morale.
I am in no way trying to advocate not promoting your top talent, it can be a GREAT idea. However, I think we owe them the training and preparation they need to be successful. One of the most important things I do on my team is mentor and train my top performers to someday be great sales managers, and every time I go on vacation or a business trip, I reap the rewards of this effort because I am not constantly worried about what is happening at work.
In your absence, SOMEONE is leading your team. Think about that for a second and ask yourself this question: Is it the person I want it to be? Or is it the joker encouraging everyone to go out for a 3 beer lunch?
Over the next few weeks I will be talking a lot about coaching, mentoring, and training, as well as the difference between leadership and management. I look forward to your comments, and hope we can get another great conversation started that allows us to all grow personally and professionally.