Leadership is not always about leading teams, communities, people, or organizations. Leading yourself through day-to-day activities, goal achievements, and relationships counts as leadership too. A complicated definition of self-leadership, as coined by Charles C. Manz (1983), is “A comprehensive self-influence perspective that concerns leading oneself toward the performance of naturally motivating tasks as well as managing oneself to do work that must be done but is not naturally motivating.”
Well, let’s deconstruct this definition for a woman entrepreneur or sales professional, shall we?
Women entrepreneurs and professionals often carry the limiting beliefs that a salesperson needs to be talkative, aggressive, hung up on numbers all the time, and chase targets relentlessly. On the contrary, most women come naturally bestowed with the superpowers of having an empathy-led conversation, being perceptive about the buyer’s needs, and aiming for a win-win outcome.
To lead with such intentions in a sales conversation, she needs to prepare herself in the long term through the four cornerstones of self-leadership, which will empower her to have successful sales interactions.
Understanding own emotions and triggers
Even if you do not count yourself as a spiritual person who is driven by inquiries about self and psychology, you ought to spend time uncovering your behaviors, emotions, limitations, and beliefs that make you who you are. To be authentic in your interactions, you need first to understand yourself. Deep dive into self-awareness and analyze yourself by asking questions like
What makes me angry?
What causes restlessness to me?
When do I feel appreciated?
How can I be more mindful in my meetings?
What makes me happy and energized?
Orientation and self-development
All great leaders of the world have underlined the importance of learning and personal growth. Make it one of your constant pursuits to be curious and willing to improve yourself from yesterday.
As a learning enthusiast, make goals for personal development.
- Make a wishlist of self-help and sales books to read and finish up one/two each month
- Subscribe to some insightful podcasts, blogs, video channels for weekend viewing
- Talk to mentors and experts in your industry about a topic of your interest with an intention to learn and grow
- Participate in community chats and peer discussions on your favorite social platform (beware, do not overdo this!)
- Cultivate a challenge network — people with whom you can have intellectual debates around your area of work and industry trends
You learn from anyone, anywhere. Have an open mind and disregard the age barrier.
Self-leadership is about developing your ‘inner game.’ And a massive part of it is to break through the molds of conditioning, push yourself out of the comfort zone, and set personal and professional boundaries. Particularly for women in sales, there is also the layer put by the misogynist industry, which considers intuitiveness as being ‘less aggressive.’ So, when you wear the seller hat, remember to:
- Stay true to your integrity and value system. Whenever you operate from those, people do not take you for granted
- Ask for help. It does not make you weak but fosters collaboration
- Release the limiting beliefs around selling, discover your personal power and demonstrate resilience in the face of rejection.
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Our inner dialogue, what we say to ourselves has a very powerful impact on how we experience life, on how we run…
Playing to your strengths
Managing your time, priorities, and emotions is a vital part of leading yourself through the highs and lows of a sales journey. It is about influencing yourself into self-motivation and self-direction to achieve your goals. And when it comes to getting results, you ought to work smart, not hard, by amplifying the skills and strategies that work like a charm for you.
- You will not win by faking to be someone you are not. So look for the soft and hard skills that you are good at and do mastery in them. Is it negotiation, researching your prospect, keeping track of follow-ups — whatever it is, excel and get innovative with it?
- Take a personality test to get a deeper insight into how you operate in a sales situation. Align your job roles to the traits that amplify your performance and results.
- Think long term and plan for the short term by laying out your 30–60–90 day plans, monitoring your weekly schedules, and truly focussing on one critical task first thing in the day which involves creativity or problem-solving.
An effective self-leader is one who has developed the ability to focus on what matters the most. She moves ahead to achieve personal excellence, which further creates the ripples of outstanding results, client wins, and increased abundance.