Why Do I Need to Do Everything By Myself (If I Want It Done Right)?

Build & Manage a Top-Performing Sales Team — Post #8

Oh, we all know these thoughts way too well.

  • „Why can‘t Gini use the report format I told her to use?“
  • „Why didn‘t Ahmed include [X] in the client needs summary?“
  • „How could Denise say something like this?“
  • „I make mistakes, but I never made such mistakes.“
  • „Why is everyone around me so dumb? Ahhhhh…“

Well, I assume that you already know that this blog post is not gonna be anything like:

„Here are 10 reasons why everyone around you is dumb,“ and „here are 10 things you can do to deal with dumb people.“

In a former article, we talked about how it‘s important to understand the subtle but significant difference between fault and responsibility.

To remind you the core concept is that something might not be your fault but it‘s your responsibility to deal with the situation.

  • Fault focuses on the past; something bad happened and it was somebody‘s fault. Responsibility, however, is something that happens in the present; you have agency over it.
  • Taking responsibility means that you accept what had happened, you analyze it, you come up with solutions, and you act towards them; no matter who‘s at fault. You are responsible for how you deal with the situation.

If you wanna read more on the topic, check out this article.

And, when you start being a manager, you‘ll constantly be confronted with your subordinates making mistakes or doing something in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily approve of. Your subordinates are people, people are different, people make mistakes. Don‘t forget that.

So, having a general understanding that people will make mistakes and knowing that you‘ll need to deal with those mistakes and „everybody doing everything wrong around you,“ let‘s take a look at the underlying reasons for that feeling, the psychological context, and how you can effectively deal with this situation.

Are all people around me dumb?
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Why Everybody Continuously Makes Mistakes Around You.

Let‘s start with unpacking what the situational context might be and why, very specifically, you might be thinking that everybody‘s dumb.

  1. People Are New On Your Team: Something sounds like common sense to you but nobody on your team seems to get it? Well, chances are that you deal with a lot of people who have just started out in sales or whatever department you deliver value in.
    Someone at a large tech firm recently told me that it takes them up to 7 months to get new sales reps up to speed.
    So, if you deal with a lot of people at early stages in their careers, it‘s just human to make mistakes. You can help them make fewer mistakes — and, as a manager, it‘s even your responsibility — but, you‘ll never get rid off people making many mistakes if they‘re new to a job.
  2. People Just Do It Differently: You told Maria seven times that she need to show leads the use cases your team has prepared. The use cases provide leads with exact numbers on how beneficial your solution would be to them.
    But, Maria never uses them. It makes you furious. Well, if you look at Maria‘s KPIs, you might notice that she‘s still an above-average sales rep. But, you keep believing that she could be even better if she just showed those darn use cases.
    Well, this might not be true. Maybe, you like numbers and maybe while you were a sales rep yourself you used to sell many deals to people who like numbers. But, Maria is a people person and she sells through her charming personality. She just makes leads feel great. Numbers don‘t speak to her and she naturally picks leads that don‘t care that much about numbers. She picks leads that care about real human connection and make sales decisions based on that.
    So, just because you think people do things wrong, it doesn‘t need to be true. They might just be doing things differently. So, do yourself a favor and reflect on your own biases. You might be the only person who sees the issue.
  3. You Don‘t Provide the Training and Resources Your People Need: If everybody on your sales team keeps on making the same mistakes, chances are that they are either not aware of it or that they just don‘t know how to do it better.
    As a sales manager, it‘s your responsibility to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks. But your responsibility doesn’t end there. You then need to work on finding solutions and provide the necessary resources so that your employees can actually grow. Don‘t get me wrong. It‘s their responsibility to improve. But, it‘s your responsibility to create an environment that enables them to grow.
    And — if you want to be a truly great sales manager — you can take the responsibility to take immediate action to help your employees and guide them rather than wasting energy on being annoyed with their constant mistakes.
    I reflected a lot on the topic in 5 In-Depth Resonaid Guides for Becoming a Great Coach for Your Sales Team if you wanna learn more.
  4. You‘re Too Negative: I know that this might sound judgmental, but it‘s oftentimes true. And, sometimes we need to hear the uncomfortable truth and get some tough love.
    Trust me, I hear people complain all the time. And, sometimes I catch myself doing it. As human beings, we always find reasons why something bugs us, especially other people.
    And, once we‘re in this mindset, it‘s very hard to get out of it.
    But, mindset is everything. So, ask yourself if things are really as bad and if people really perform this poorly, or, if all of this is just your negative perspective that influences your perception.
  5. You Just Don‘t Like Someone: This one is very dangerous. And don‘t just say, „this isn‘t me.“ I fell victim to this a few times. And, it’s unacceptable.
    Research has shown that we judge people very quickly. And, once we made up our mind about someone, we tend to stick with that first impression.
    Kids in school who write A’s on the first two tests, tend to get A’s for participation, no matter how much they actually participate. If bosses see that a sales rep landed a huge deal, they forgive them future mistakes.
    But, kids who write a D on their first test, usually only get C+, no matter how much they participate. And, if a sales rep struggles to perform for 2 months and then lands a big deal, their bosses are less impressed because they think it‘s just been luck.
    Another thing is that, as human beings, we tend to like people who are like us and we tend not to like people who are vastly different.
    As a sales manager, you can‘t allow your personal perception of someone affect how you treat them. It‘s all: unprofessional, it shows that you have poor character, and you sabotage your company‘s performance because you don‘t support all your employees in the same way.
    Of course, there are employees who simply don‘t perform and don‘t show any effort and your gut will be right with them. But fact-check your gut. Always!
  6. You‘re a Perfectionist: We‘re talking about business, not rocket science or cancer research. People don‘t need to do things perfectly. People need to get things done. If Mike gets things 80% right and closes 30% of his deals. That‘s amazing. Of course, Jemimah might do things 90% right and close 35% of deals. But, Mike still seems like an effective sales reps. People don‘t need to do things perfectly. If you strive for perfection, that‘s your problem and not theirs.
  7. You Don‘t Communicate Clearly: If people never do things as you told them, chances are that you didn‘t explain it well enough. If you only tell them to „get the report done,“ they won‘t know what you mean. Even if you give them detailed explanations, you might not do it in a way that resonates with them. If you want people to do things in a very specific way, make sure that they know what you mean and how to do it.
Psychological analysis of oneself as a sales manager.
Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

But Why Do You Think This Way?

This blog post is brutally honest because you probably need to hear a few of those things. However, don‘t forget that all of your behavior is based on the fact that you yourself are also just a human being.

So, let‘s take a look at a few reasons why you — psychologically — might be falling into the default mindset of thinking that „everybody around you is dumb:“

  1. Most of Us Are Poor Communicators: You can change this through a long-term commitment to growth. But research shows pretty clearly that although we spend 70% of our days communicating, only 10% of us have a true understanding of effective communication. This is not because 90% of the population is dumb. It‘s just because most of us never get a formal education in communication. So, don‘t be hard on yourself. Communication is a skill.
  2. It‘s Inherently Hard to Understand Others: And, even if you are an effective communicator, others might not be. And, a sad truth of our human existence is that we‘ll never truly understand anyone. Gosh, we don‘t even understand ourselves all the time. How, could understand someone else.
  3. We Are Busy: Face it, you‘re a sales manager. You have a lot of responsibility, a lot of work, and NOT a lot of time. Communication takes time that you oftentimes don‘t have. And reflection takes effort, but you only have so much energy. So, don‘t beat yourself up if you don‘t always put the mental effort into reflection.

These aren’t meant as excuses. You should work on overcoming them if you want to become an effective manager. But, be fair to yourself and understand that, becoming a better communicator is a step-by-step process, understanding others is hard and has its natural limits, and you only have a limited amount of time to get your job done.

A sign empowering you.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

How to Ensure That People (Can) Do Things Right.

So, there are many more reasons why you might be thinking that you need to do everything yourself, but blog posts are never about the ultimate truth, at least mine aren‘t. They’re about getting you started with thinking about something and reflecting.

So, do yourself a favor and try to adopt a different perspective. Question why you think that „everybody does it wrong.“ Here are a few tactics that‘ll help you right away.

  1. Practice Active Reflection Regularly: Rather than jumping to the conclusion that everybody is dumb — or when you catch yourself doing it — ask yourself: „why would I be thinking this?“ Then continue asking yourself questions that will help you understand why someone might have potentially behaved in a way or another.
    Show empathy in the process and always assume the best intentions. You might come to the conclusion that they‘re lazy or make stupid mistakes. But, don‘t immediately jump to that conclusion. Give them the chance of doubt.
  2. Talk to Them: My favorite meetings at our company, Resonaid, are the „Emotional Debt“ meetings that my co-founder Sebastian introduced. It‘s a weekly meeting in which we sit together 1on1 and tell each other what we disliked about each other‘s behavior and why. We’re brutally honest about our perceptions.
    But — big BUT — we then give each other the chance to explain why we behaved in a certain way. And, it‘s oftentimes blowing our minds how wrong we were about our assumptions and how we perceived the behavior.
    Oftentimes, we also discover personal blindspots and are deeply thankful for the feedback.
    So, the next time you start disliking someone‘s behavior approach them about it with empathy and a true interest in understanding them. You‘ll be surprised how quickly you might change your perspective or how thankful they‘ll be that you told them.
  3. Look at the Data: I can‘t stress it enough. First, check if you‘re assumptions are right. Are they really performing so poorly? How many times did you really need to jump in and help them? Maybe James makes mistakes twice a month but it‘s out of a hundred tasks. Maybe, Maria makes mistakes but the data still shows that she closes more deals than anyone else.
  4. Ensure They Have the Resources They Need: Oftentimes, people just don’t have the right training or tools to get the job done. You, as a sales manager should figure out what they need and provide it!
  5. Be a Coach: You notice a repetitive mistake? Great, now you can help them overcome it by being a great coach. This is super powerful but also demands some preparation. For that reason, here’s an entire free guide on how to coach your sales team effectively!
  6. Get Different Perspectives: Yes, you‘re a coach to your employees. But, that doesn‘t mean that you wouldn‘t benefit from a coach or mentor yourself.
    Every great and successful business person has had or currently has a formal mentor or a network of people they constantly ask for advice and different perspectives. Something might seem big in your head, but actually, it‘s not. Someone might seem dumb, but your mentor will tell you that they‘re not dumb but you just don‘t provide the right resources to them. So, [get a mentor] and reflect together with them.
  7. Read: Only if it‘s just 10 minutes a day. Read things that give you new perspectives. If you don‘t continuously educate yourself, you‘ll always think that your way is the right way. But, there are so many other ways to do things and to look at things. Reading will help you discover them.
Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

Conclusion.

So, the next time you‘re thinking „Why do I need to do everything myself if I want it done right?“ take a moment for yourself and start reflecting on why you think that way. Maybe, revisit this blog post and analyze what‘s really going on.

And, make a plan how to ensure that you won‘t think it again. At least not in the same context.

About the Author.

Teddy Lange is a co-founder at Resonaid and is responsible for business development and customer experience. Before joining Resonaid, he’s been a Sales Rep and Junior Sales Manager, and co-founded various companies. He has just finished his graduate degree in Public Policy with a focus on communication at Harvard University. Feel free to reach out to him at teddy@resonaid.co.

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