I’m providing depth and insight to each of Gartner’s four manager profiles. Start here to learn why this research suggests an evolution in our approach to employee development.
The last manager profile I’m covering has been mentioned throughout our dialogue in this series. In fact, if you’re familiar with our product or resources, you already know where the Connector Manager falls on our list. It is #1.
And for good reason.
Gartner says the Connector Manager is three times more likely to mint high-performing reps. Connector Managers improve employee performance by 26% on average, and up to 40%.
Who is the Connector Manager?
Each of the manager profiles I’ve covered has its pluses. The Always On Manager has the motivation to go the extra mile for his reps. The Teacher Manager has deep and often invaluable legacy knowledge to pass along. The Cheerleader Manager is positive and empowering, willing to allow the rep to learn lessons through experience.
The Connector Manager — you guessed it — connects and builds upon these and other positive traits of each type of manager. But there is nuance in how it’s done, and that’s what I’d like to talk about here.
3 Connector Manager Connections
Gartner’s survey and research revealed that highly effective sales managers build exceptional talent through connections of three types:
1) Employee – Diagnosing the unique needs of each rep and personalizing feedback
2) Team – Connecting peers to recognize and encourage peer-to-peer development
3) Organization – Connect employees with the right individuals and opportunities across the organization and beyond.
Connecting With The Seller
Only 38% of sellers report their manager helps them develop the skills needed for the role. Building this first connection is the bread and butter of the Connector Manager’s success.
Managers that follow these three basic rules will see greater employee connection:
- Over-invest in diagnosis by observing sales calls and actively listening in 1:1 interactions.
- Coach the person, not the problem by tailoring coaching to an individual’s needs.
- Be positive, but be prepared to be tough by not shying away from critical, constructive feedback that is intended to foster trust.
“If you don’t ace this step, it is almost impossible to succeed in the other two connections, making the employee connection both the most powerful and the most treacherous.” – The Connector Manager, Gartner
Power to the Peers – Making a Team Connection
The next important tenet of the Connector Manager is fostering team development through peer-to-peer. Harnessing the power of varied strengths amongst reps lifts the burden of being the sole developer of talent off the manager’s shoulders and makes rep development scalable.
Connector Managers follow three basic rules to make the team connection:
- Use motivators to tailor the team environment to encourage and recognize peer-to-peer development.
- Identify and embrace individual differences by creating a working list of gaps and strengths across the team.
- Make peer skill sharing a ritual by building it into team events like team meetings and QBRs.
Partnering Best-Fit Organizational Connections
This last important tenet of the Connector Manager’s connections might be mistakenly interpreted as “the bigger the network, the better the manager.” This is not the case. Rather, the partnering aspect of making effective connections is about the quality of the connection itself, the manner in which connections are made, and the subsequent follow-up and support of continued connection.
The Connector Manager follows these three basic rules to make the organization connection:
- Become mapmakers by having go-to resources for specific behavior gaps like negotiation.
- Develop warm-up and cool-down routines by checking in to help your rep prepare and reflect before and after connections have been made.
- Model best-fit connections by serving as a connection point for others in the sales organization based on your own unique strengths.
Gartner’s research echoes what we at CT Connect are all about, and what today’s highly effective sales managers already embody: That in order to build top talent, we must coach. In order to coach well, we must connect. Coach where you can…connect where you can’t
Are your managers Always On, Teachers, Cheerleaders, or Connectors? Gartner has shown that modest changes in management style can have a major impact on teamwide performance.
Make the shift. Download our free template to build a Remote Manager Playbook that will convert all of your managers into Connectors.