There’s no denying certain personality traits and natural talents are useful when starting a new career. If you’re entering into sales, it helps if you have a competitive nature; if you’re starting out in banking, it’s useful to be good with numbers; and if you work near Silicon Roundabout, you should have an innate interest in technology.However that’s not to say that a person who is not naturally competitive won’t succeed in a sales role. According to a recent survey we commissioned of 254 salespeople, 35 per cent of respondents told us they did not consider themselves to be a natural salesperson. Additionally 57 per cent said that their natural ability had been enhanced by nurturing from their employer. It’s the responsibility of the business owner or manager to get the best out of their team, regardless of natural ability. Here are four ways managers and business leaders can do this and build a happy and productive workforce: 1. Build confidence An unhappy or under confident employee is less likely to succeed and less willing to take the initiative when it comes to driving the business forward. It’s up to the manager to instil confidence in their team. Celebrating success is important and recognising improvements and hard work is a must. But it’s also important to provide regular feedback to those who are struggling otherwise they’re unlikely to improve. 2. Provide technology Make life easier for your team by supplying them with the right technology. In today’s business world, the phrase “big data” has become something of a buzz term, but it’s because there are such enormous quantities of data building up that business intelligence software is now needed to manage it. Collecting and analysing data quickly can provide users with the exact information needed to identify opportunities and make better business decisions, thereby increasing revenue for the business. 3. Communicate To lead a team you need to communicate; it’s an essential part of any management role. One of the best ways to do this is to hold regular one-to-one meetings with individuals to gather feedback. The temptation to cancel or reschedule should be avoided as it can give the impression that the employee is expendable. One-to-one meetings make your staff feel valued and supported while offering you an insight into the greater issues affecting company morale and productivity. 4. Create a team environment The expression there’s no “i” in team may be a cliché, but it’s a good one. It’s a philosophy that all employees need to adopt in order to succeed in today’s working environment. A group of individuals working for themselves are unlikely to be as successful as a team working to a collective goal. It’s up to the manager to create this culture of collaboration. Set individual targets, but bring the team together by setting wider department goals that require teamwork if they are to be reached. It’s also important to communicate how each individual role impacts the success of the overall business. When people better understand the importance of their job, engagement and productivity often increases. A person’s natural talent and interests may influence their career choice, but this is only half the story. Once in a job it is up to the manager to nurture talent, improve skill sets and get individuals working as a team in order to boost their engagement with the role and productivity at the company. Paul Black is CEO of business intelligence software company sales-i.
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