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Qualities of a Sales Manager: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership – Part 1


Guest articles > Qualities of a Sales Manager: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership – Part 1


by: Danita Bye


Sales Leadership is more than management. It is the ability to inspire and motivate people to give their best. Technical and organizational skills are important for leaders, but the true test of a leader is his ability to drive emotions.

A Harris Interactive poll of 23,000 employees revealed startling information about how employees perceive their work environment. Only 20 percent of employees felt enthusiasm about the team and company goals. A mere fifteen percent regarded their companies as high-trust environments, and only 17 percent felt that open communication and respect for different opinions were values within their companies. Only 15 percent felt that their companies fully enabled them to complete key goals.

Clearly, the emotional connection between employee and company is missing in many companies. Leaders must restore that emotional connection to help their employees become personally invested in company goals.

Sales Management Process: Use Emotional Intelligence in Employee Retention

Mike’s team was tasked with achieving 50 percent growth. Sales were often in the million-dollar range and had a 12 to 24-month sales cycle, and Mike’s seasoned team started the year with a robust sales pipeline. However, during the third quarter, every large deal in the last stage of the pipeline fell apart. Mike’s hopes of crashing through the quota were dashed.

Mike decided to personally ensure that each remaining deal closed. He began micro-managing not only each deal, but each of his sales people. Within months, half of his formerly high-performing team members were looking for new jobs.

What happened? In reaction to the pressure, Mike reverted to his backup behavioral style. His fear overwhelmed his judgment, and his formerly popular management style became totalitarian and despised.

In Leigh Branhaw’s 2005 book The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late, published by AMACOM, nine of the top reasons employees give for leaving their jobs are related to poor leadership. Leaders make decisions everyday that impact the job satisfaction of their employees.

Under effective leaders, employees strive to improve their skills and their performance. Since they stay in their jobs, they internalize the values and the goals of the company and make company success an indicator of personal success.

“Primal Intelligence: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence” ascribes up to 95 percent of the difference between good and top leaders to emotional intelligence, the ability to relate to, communicate with, and motivate others. In a study of more than 2000 managers from 12 large organizations, 81 percent of the competencies that distinguished outstanding managers were related to emotional intelligence.

The accurate recognition of her own emotions, the correct interpretation of her employees’ emotion, and the ability to respond appropriately make the manager with high emotional intelligence (EI) an outstanding and inspiring leader.

Incorporating EI into an overall management strategy shifts the focus from the flaws of the team to the strength of the leader. Instead of saying “My team lacks initiative, and I cannot improve their performance,” the leader with strong EI says, “I can find the motivational cues of each team member and help each one become vested in this project.”

For Mike, the threat of losing half of his team was an epiphany. Through a Leadership Emotional IQ evaluation. Mike became more self-aware of his reactive behavior and changed his strategy, taking into account his team’s strengths, talents and skills. The more positive work environment nurtured a winning team that is now beating their sales plan.

EI is not just acquired at birth; EI skills can be enhanced or learned. Self-assessment is a key component of becoming a successful leader. Effective leadership that creates an innovative and results-driven environment springs from the inside of the leader, not from external rules and controls.


Nationally recognized sales management and leadership expert Danita Bye built her reputation on building and inspiring process-oriented, no excuse, high-performance sales teams that deliver bottom line results. With her unique Fortune-100-turned-entrepreneur perspective, Danita helps CEOs and company presidents take their businesses to the next level. Her practical, no-nonsense approach to sales management, combined with her leadership acumen, enables sales leadership to increase sales, creating predictable revenue streams.

As a 10-year veteran of the Xerox Corporation, Danita consistently achieved award winning sales performance before leaving to become an equity partner and national sales manager for a Minneapolis-based medical device company. In this capacity, she increased annual revenues from $300,000 to a run rate of $20 million in just ten years.

Danita has authored numerous articles on sales management and leadership. In addition, she was a featured as a sales development expert on the TV show, “The Ruthless Entrepreneur,” which is currently airing on the Oxygen Network. Leadership Shift, Management Acceleration and a library of eBooks on critical sales management issues are available on the Sales Growth Specialists’ website.

Danita can be reached at, 612-267-3320 or 800-256-2799.

For more insights on Sales Process, visit

Copyright 2009, Danita Bye, Sales Growth Specialists, All Rights Reserved.

Contributor: Danita Bye

Published here on:

Classification: Sales


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