Why is it that some fantastic sales people – when promoted – become absolutely lousy sales managers? And why are some outstanding speakers totally ill at-ease when they need to interact off-stage, in “social†settings?


You may have heard friends, family members or co-workers express surprise and disappointment when these otherwise successful people act in unexpected and not usually appreciated ways.

If you want to help them – or yourself – become a more positive, skillful leader and confident professional, here’s a formula I’ve developed that works well:

Listen carefully first BEFORE speaking. Sales people are skilled in guiding conversations into a particular direction, toward a specific end goal – the sale.  Many leaders are accustomed to speaking first without interruption and focusing on a particular issue, without too much concern for how it is being received. In management and in social situations, these strategies can spell disaster including hurt feelings, conflict and a lack of productivity.

Learning to be a good and thoughtful listener is an acquired skill that anyone can master, with self-discipline and patience.

Adapt your style to those in your circles. If you tend to be a direct, in-your-face personality, you will no doubt completely run over the quieter, more thoughtful types – unless you adjust your approach. You will both lose as a consequence and so will your organization. Similarly, if you are ultra-quiet, find questions you can ask to involve the more expressive types in the conversation.

Respond to what you’ve heard, in a way that others can relate, only after you’ve listened and adapted your way of relating.

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