The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 6 months ago

Working for a Bad Manager


We’ve all worked for someone who we didn’t think was that great as a manager. How do you, a seller, handle the scenario in which you’re working for a bad manager but aren’t quite ready to leave? John Kaplan shares some advice on how to improve your work experience when in such a situation and what to look for in your next company.

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Don't be a victim. You have to own your own success. Be a hero in your story, not the victim. You're listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your teams sell more faster. will feature sales leaders sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team atforce management, a leader in B two B sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audible ready sales podcast. I'm Rachel Club Miller. Today we're going to talk about what happens when you work for someone who isn't a great manager. We've all been there. I do want to preface this podcast by saying I am not in that situation right now. John Catholic joins you discuss. Hi, John, hi, Rachel, good clarification. Get get the clarification out there at the top. So, John, what we've all we've all been there. Uh, and some people listening right now might be nodding their heads in agreement. You out there may be in a situation where you're not really ready to leave for whatever reason. So you have to maneuver through this current state of working for a bad manager and try your best. Yeah, I think the reality check is, unfortunately, great leadership, great management is it's rare. And so I would say, you know, sevent of the time you're gonna work for mediocre or even, in some unfortunate situations, bad managers and Um, you know. So we all want to work for good people, but if we're not working for, you know, good quality managers or leaders, there's there's some things that you can do to improve your experience and it reminds me the reality check was a good one and I got it at a young age. So I'll just tell a quick story, Rachel field, if you're okay with it. I I um, I was a high school football player. I was pretty good high school football player and I was playing in a big game. We were playing against a team that had an outstanding Um opponent, a running back Um that went on to play in the big ten. And so at that game there was a lot of pressure, there was a lot of Um, a lot of college coaches there to see this person and I knew that, if you know, if I did well against this individual, that they were also going to see me. and Um, there was an opportunity in the game at the end of the first half, where I actually knew what the play was going to be, I could figure out to play quickly, and he was running back, I was linebacker,...

...which meant I, you know, I was he had the ball and I was going to tackle him and for whatever reason, um I was so hyped up I just launched myself as a human missile and left my feet and we were about the same size and so I just kind of crumpled off him and he scampered for like a fifty yard touchdown and I was devastated, like like I was like, you know, walking slow into the locker room. We get in the locker room and this coach that I had in high school, he was he's like screaming at the team about, you know, talent. He's like captain obvious today, like you see that guy on TV commercials, Captain Obvious, and he gets to me and he says, you know, Kaplan, you gotta make that tackle, and I remember looking at him and thinking to myself, are you kidding me, like that's the coaching and development that you're going to give to me? Like I've got to tackle that person, like like I like, I don't know that I have to tackle that person. And but what was interesting to me is after the game, one of the greatest coaches of my life was my dad, and my dad Um came up to me and he's like hey, you know, how you feeling whatever, and I'm like God, Dad, like you know, I struggled out there today and he goes yeah, and he said to me, said Hey, when did you start leaving your feet when you make a tackle? And I'm like, you know, I didn't even realize. I noticed that, kind of like after the film or would have you and I'm like, I don't know, and he goes how much do you think that running back way? And I said he's probably like, you know, two fifteen pounds, and he system and what are you weighing right now? I said two fifteen pounds and he said, well, not when you hit him. You know, you're probably half your body weight when you hit him. And so that Rachel became for me, the screaming at the scoreboard and that that my coach was actually screaming at the scoreboard. I went back and thought about it. We're in the Locker Room when we needed coaching and development the most most. He was like screaming at the scoreboard and telling us what the score was and hoping that it would change. And I remember in that moment think, you know what, if I ever become a coach or if I'm in that if I'm never in that situation, I sure hope that I don't do that. So I've been really sensitive to it throughout the rest of my career and that screaming at the scoreboard is a really, really good mantra for all of us to think about when we're in those situations. Right, it's it's pointing out the obvious. Hey, we're not making our number yet. No, kidding, got it right, but we and we have another phrase that we use, John, provide the how. That's how your coach, you manage, you teach, you provide the how. So if if you've got some scoreboard screamers that you're you're working for, uh, let's we're going to shift this podcast now to talk about what you can do. So John,...

...let's go there. So first probably is being specific, outlining where you need help specifically. Yeah, I mean what we need from our managers is to provide the what and the how and if we're really lucky, Rachel we'll work. We will work for people over time who will also start with the hy so great leaders, when I think about it, before they go to the what and how, they start with the why. And so if you're blessed enough to be working for somebody that that starts with the hy Um, you just chairish it because it's really, really rare. And if you're a leader out there listening to this podcast, first start with the why. The what and how become a lot easier and a lot easier for people to consume. But let's stay on this topic for a second. Let's talk about the what and the how. So for me it's about let your work for a leader, a manager who's mediocre or or, just as is, a bad manager. You still need these certain things. Let's talk about the what and how. You still need what I call knowledge skills, and this defines your character. So you know, go get it in your company, ask questions about it. Let's talk about the knowledge that you need. I don't care who you're working for. You need the answer to the four cents of questions. What problems do we solve for our customers? How specifically do we solve them? How do we solve them differently or better than anybody else. And where have we done it before? What skills do you need? No matter what, you have to learn how to attach to the biggest business issues facing your customers. You have to influence decision criteria with your differentiation and you've got to be a voracious qualifier. Well, you've heard US talk about Med pick. GO LEARN MED pick. There's a high probability or somebody in your organs station that understands medpick. Go on our website. First of all, I commend you. If you're listening to this podcast, you already get a lot of these topics we're talking about, regardless of whether your company or your manager is teaching them to you. So we've got a lot of blogs out there, a lot of posts that we have on medpick. We also have a lot of information out there on how to attach to big business issues and influencing your decision criteria with your differentiation. So those four essential questions and that differentiation, you've got to get that from people inside your company and Um, so we can talk a little bit more about the people aspect of this, about where you might be able to go. Yeah, and I think you know two things. First, you said, if somebody is providing a why and providing the how, giving you the why, providing a how, telling you how to do it. Um, that's a great situation to be in and you, as a salesperson, need to make sure you're listening and trusting the process.

But if you don't have it, you just ran through some some good things about outlining where where you need help. Yeah, Um, the other thing you can do, which which I know that you've probably done in your career too, and I've done it too in a in a in a poor working environment, is to use the people around, the ones that are being successful. They may just they may not be above me, they may be my peers. Yeah, Rachel, I think that, Um, there's always when you want to. I remember being in Europe and traveling around to all these places, like there's no shortage of great places to go visit. And so we were living there and I was my kids were young, and I'm carrying my kids, I'm carrying bags, I'm carrying all this stuff and I had this little munch in my head that like, if I wanted to understand if a place was worth going to, I found somebody coming back from that place and what that means to me is there's always somebody in a company that's been to a place that you haven't been to and you should go ask them what that place is like and how to get to that place. So that was always a really good reminder for me. And I remember my first manager at Xerox Um right out of college, was a wall Um wasn't even there most of the time. So it was really, really a strange situation and I was introduced to this concept early and I was lucky because there were great raps in the office, and I'm gonna give some shout outs here, so great, uh, you know, experienced sales leaders and salespeople like Phil Maxim and Dave Murphy and John slaw and Cyndi Bowler, and I went to them. So my boss wasn't even around and wasn't even in the office Um, and and wasn't even having meetings with me. So I was really, really lucky to to, you know, go to those people and just ask them basic questions about the role and they were wonderful. I mean I think they actually had some empathy for me. They didn't seek me out and say hey, you know, your situation sucks, but since I sought them out. They were ready and willing to help me and it was a really, really cool experience for me. And then also I banded together with a couple of other new reps. at the time I was new and there was a couple of other new reps and Um that we're in the exact same situation as me, Rachel, and Keith Shaw is one of them, and Ron Nelson their dear friends of mine today and uh, and they were some of the first salespeople that I looked around and I'm like, who else is in a similar situation as me? And I went and talk to them and I'm like, Hey, are you learning what you think you need to be learning? Here, are you? And so we kind of taught each other and we did things like we'd meet it like seven am in the office and we had this...

...thing like in fronts, and we'd say, okay, we're gonna go in front today, we're gonna go in front of our customers and how many infronts can you get? And so it was how many meetings could we get in a day? And the interesting that happened there, Rachel, was Dave Murphy was one of the senior sellers in the office and he saw what we were doing and there was so much energy around what we were doing. We started to compete with each other and we started to met each other about, you know, who would be, who would be, you know, who would have the most sales. And a senior seller, Rachel, came down to our level and got involved in our mix, started coming and meeting with us at seven in the morning and he was teaching us and when I asked him about it years later, I'm like, why did you come to like our situation? And he said I saw the energy that you guys were creating around learning and I needed that energy too. I was more than happy to help you guys with the information you didn't have, but what you guys absolutely helped me with was the intensity around, the energy of going out and doing your job, and so it's a really, really cool experience. It's it's something like you know, it's thirty plus years ago and it's something I still value today and have relationships with those people today. That's a great story. I think many of us can relate to times in our career when we just had a great camaraderie with the people who were trying to do the same things we were. Um, I'm working together on that team and also, you know, going through going through some challenging situations. You might you might say, yeah, you're kind of there's there's kind of unity in the sucks sometimes. You know what I mean? There's in it and it builds character for for the for the individuals that are embracing their situations saying hey, like, let's do something about it. Pretty cool. Yeah, and then the other point to make here, that's sort of this underlying theme in what you're saying, John, is that, no matter our situations, in the men in which we work with, the managers that are above us, it's important to remember that we own our success. Yeah, I mean, I don't want to lecture people here. I really want to give you spirit right now. Um, the excuse department is closed. When you're talking about your performance, don't be a victim of a bad manager or bad leadership. You have to be the hero in the story and we've talked about a few ways to do that. But at the end of the day, Um, you've got to ask yourself right now, what areas in my job or career am I feeling like a victim? Um, or you know, if that language is too strong for you, like, where are you feeling wrong? Um, you know, if you think about your current situation, where do I feel wrong? That's always meant something to me. And then you've got to ask yourself, how can I be the hero in this story? Like, can I go... out somebody in products to help me with the answers to the four essential question? Can I go seek out as a senior seller? My Dad used to tell me when I was in a tough situation. I used to say to me, you're going to get a chance to tell the story. I want you to think about yourself twenty years from now and what's that story going to be? And it always, it always really resonated with me. So, whatever situation and you're you're in right now, we're all gonna everybody's got a story. You're going to get a chance to tell your story. You know, twenty years from now, what's that gonna BE? Are you going to be the hero in the story? Are you're going to be the victim and the story? It's a real, real powerful concept, yes, but you, you own it right, we we own our our success, Um, and you know, as beyonce said to the left, to the left worst case, that you can get your job pipelines together. Um, make a change. Don't stay in the same situation. Don't scream as your own scoreboard right. Give yourself a way away, up, a way out. So, John, when you were in these situations or when knew it was time to leave whatever company you were working for, how did you start putting feelers out there that you were starting to look? Yeah, really good question. So you know, today it's not hard, you know, to look for other opportunities. There's more job openings today than there are candidates. So you know, use your networks, Um, and we could have a whole another conversation about how to look for great opportunities. A matter of fact, I think we did a blog one time, Rachel, about where we talked about what to look for in other companies. You might put that in the show notes here, but yeah, a lot, a lot of content around that. But for me I want to make a very strong statement here. Don't leave a company or a bad manager. Don't leave a company or a bad manager sprint to a great company and a great management team. So there's a lot of people that make the mistake of saying I'm just going to get out, and they don't really utilize their experiences, good and bad, for vetting any new opportunities. And so like a lot of times I'll say to somebody, will say, Hey, what do you think about this company, Baba, and I I'll tell them about it and they'll say, you know, you think I should join that and I'll say, well, why are you leaving? Why are you leaving where you're at, and why can't you get that at where you're at? And it's really important for you to contemplate that, because there are a lot of people that aren't really identifying with what's forcing them to look for something else and then they don't utilize that information. Two, make sure that they vet the new company. You know, for example, the answers to the four cential questions. How do you influence decision criteria with your yeah, with your differentiation, like they don't at that in...

...a new company. To make sure a new company has that available to them. So in the interview process, ask the hiring manager about the knowledge, skills and therefore the character required for the job and also ask, you know, you got to also ask the hiring manager for I love this question. Ask The hiring manager for examples on how they coach and develop new reps. not how the company does it, not what sales development does, how do you do it? Give me some examples of where you've coached and develop your reps around what types of common challenges. The great ones will always be prepared with an answer. I'd also ask to speak to existing reps that are working for this hiring manager or working in this culture, because I want to know if it's a consistent answer. It's such a good point, John, because when we're in a bad situation in our work environments, we are often Um. We can make that mistake that you talk about. You're so miserable that you just look for anything to get out of that situation and you'll take everybody at their word in the interview and people have some good talking points in these interviews. So I love the point that you just said about getting specific ask the manager was specifically are you doing to manage your reps and then asking people who work for that person that. That's a really great tip. Yeah, uh, well, as you said, John, we could talk about this for a while. I have some stories of my own of work environments. I was in we all have. Everybody's got a story, right, yeah, yeah, but let's end it here. Go ahead and wrap us up. I'm going to ask you for for the bottom line for everybody out there listening today. You got it. You got it, and so look, people listening out there. I don't want to be cynical on this topic. UH, great managers and great leaders are rare. They're not rare because they're bad people. It's just rare because it's hard. It's hard to be a great manager, it's hard to be a great leader. So, just going into that, I'm not saying accept it, but I'm also saying that don't be a victim. You have to own your own success. Be a hero in your story, not the victim. Identified the knowledge, skills and character required for a role, uh in vet, a company and a leadership uh, a leadership team. Um, how they bring that knowledge and scare knowledge and skills and that character to an organization? How do they do that? The grass is not greener on the other side. It's not always greener on the other side. So make sure you're running to something and not away from something. And then let me just give you a little spirit. The fact...

...that you're listening to this podcast and others. Rachel like revenue builders is also a great one with with my great friend and Co host John McMahon, and John McMahon wrote a book called the qualified sales leader, and many of our listeners already know about these these things. So if if you're doing these things, you get it. If you haven't heard of these things before but you're listening to this podcast, you're well on your way. You own your own success and I commend you for listening to podcasts like this. It's a great example. Keep doing it. That's great, John. Run to something, not away from something, all right, and thank you for the plug for revenue builders also. You can catch that on all the PODCASTS, wherever podcasts are published. We published new episodes every Thursday. We are running a podcast production. How US up and here, John, yeah, but here. I like that and always, thank you to all of you for continuing to listen to this one, the audible ready sales podcast. Have a great day at force management. We're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US AT FORCE MANAGEMENT DOT com. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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