When I interview salespeople, I often ask about their desired management styles.
The response I hear most frequently?
“I want to be treated as if I were running my own business.”
On the surface, this might be music to an executive team’s ears. The truth of the matter is that it is cause for alarm.
When salespeople say they want to be treated as business operators, their perceptions of running a business are not aligned with reality. They are saying they want complete autonomy to do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it. Of course, that’s not how successful businesses operate.
Anyone who has ever operated a business knows that running a company does not include the right to follow the path of the wind. If you operate a publicly-traded company, you have responsibility to the chairman, the board of directors, and the shareholders. If you run a privately-held company, you have accountability to the bank or partners. In both instances, you also have a responsibility to the employees. Thus, laissez-faire management and running a successful business don’t go hand-in-hand.