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  • Writer's pictureSRG

Manager Myth: With Enough Time People Can Get Better

A common mistake we see with managers is the thinking that given enough time, anyone can figure out how to do the job and excel.

Managers develop a subconscious awareness in a relatively short period of time (usually about six months to a year) about whether or not a sales rep is going to continue to get better in their role. At that point, once you recognize someone’s ceiling, more practice and training can almost be more discouraging rather than encouraging. An important part of a manager’s job is identifying and hanging on to talent. Understanding that not everyone is capable of the same success (no matter how much help they are given) is pivotal to helping a manager prioritize their time and determine who would benefit most from it.

Deciding where to spend your time

Time is a manager’s greatest resource. The worst managers spend too much time with people who are not hitting their numbers and who are likely to get fired eventually. As a manager, would you rather spend it around a person that may be good enough to keep but will probably never be great? Or someone with more potential? Would you rather work along someone who is going to bury their head in the ground and ignore the aid you are offering or someone who can excel and take it to the next level?

A good manager should gravitate towards those who would profit from their collaboration and attention the most. That could be working with an average performer to get better or even assisting a high performer on their quest to soar even higher, however, it should not be wasted on taking a low-performing rep from bad to just okay. Trying to turn around someone that has shown limited ability to excel in the position makes little sense to your company’s bottom line. Also, it can have the unintended effect of irritating those better performing reps who may feel that they are more worthy of your attention, which over time, can cause talent to leave! (Remember? That thing that managers want to hang on to).

Once a manager has determined who to spend time with, the next important step is determining how to get the most out of your time together. Where should you begin?


Finding what motivates the individual you’re collaborating with and what structure they work best in, is key to unlocking their pathway to success. How do you do that? By looking at what works for the individual person, not what has worked for every other person in the past. This includes the manager! The question they need to ask is how can I get people to be more of themselves than like me? How can I take what they’re best at and help them improve? Once this is accomplished, they can move on to the next rep they’re collaborating with, and the process starts all over again. You will see that what that person may need from you is quite different than the previous one. The manager will need to again bend towards that individual and how they work best. The results from working this way will lead to more production from the rep and a greater return for the manager’s time. Just remember not everyone is capable of success, so choose wisely! (And seek talent).


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