Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Boss From Hell Quick To Criticize Slow To Praise

Writen by Nicki Weiss

So you have a boss who dumps all over you the moment things go wrong, but never seems to notice when things go right. Ouch.

Jamie is a hard-working, cheery, full-of-ideas kind of manager. She leads two high-functioning teams who support each other very well. So why does Jamie come to work with a stomachache every day? Why does her staff often feel paralyzed? It's because Jamie's boss, VP of Client Services, finds fault every day with Jamie and her team members. He seems to go out of his way to criticize. When the VP is away, the group functions like a well-oiled machine. When he is there, they gossip, avoid tough problems, and try to make themselves invisible.

As a defensive strategy, Jamie visits her boss every morning to take a reading of his mood and pre-empt any explosions. She tells him first thing what she and her team accomplished the day before, what issues they face, and how they are handling them. Sometimes the strategy works, sometimes it doesn't and the explosions come anyway. The constant stomachache is the price Jamie pays for trying to figure out how to please this overly critical boss.

Most of us can take a little criticism from our bosses from time to time when we've messed up, or haven't quite done something right. It can be tremendously demotivating, however, when criticism seems to be the only type of feedback we get, and we don't receive recognition for our positive contributions.

Chances are your boss isn't intentionally trying to demotivate you. It's doubtful that he has some master plan to make your life miserable. More likely, she has fallen into the all-too-common management trap of looking for things that are wrong instead of things that are right. Of course, this particular behaviour is not unique to managers. Many parents, coaches and peers (perhaps even you and me), fall into this trap.

If you have to deal with overly critical behaviour, there's a technique worth trying. The next few times your boss criticizes you, follow this three-step process:

1. Apologize

2. Let your boss know that you'll correct the problem

3. Finish off with a comment that gently reminds her that you do, occasionally, get things right. For example:

"Gee, and here I thought you were coming over to tell me what a good job I did on that last project." Say it with a smile, then go about the business of fixing your mistake.

It may take a few repetitions, but your boss should eventually get the message that you might like some positive encouragement.

Now, here's the part for the really courageous and truthful among you. You can actually tell your boss what you want. If you don't say anything, don't expect your boss to read your mind, or to be aware of how the constant criticism affects you. Say something like:

"I do appreciate feedback. It helps me improve. In addition to criticism, I also appreciate hearing about what I do well. It helps me know what to keep doing."

While you can't control how your boss talks to you, you can control the quality of your own communication, and how you respond. Good luck.

About the Author

Nicki Weiss is an internationally recognized Certified Professional Sales Management Coach, Master Trainer, and workshop leader. Since 1992, Nicki has trained, certified, and/or coached more than 6,000 business executives, sales managers and salespeople.

Nicki guarantees increased sales performance when sales managers become better sales coaches. Sign up for her FREE monthly e-zine, Something for NothingTM, which has powerful tips and techniques for sales managers who are ready to make this transformation. Sign up at You can email her at or call 416-778-4145.

Do You Know How To Fire Up Your Sales Staff When Money Isnt Everything

Writen by Tom Richard

Money is the only thing that motivates a salesperson, right? Well, maybe it is time to give your sales staff a little more credit.

If you are like most sales managers, you were probably promoted to your current position because you were a great salesperson. But can you remember what motivated you to work so hard? Was it for the hope of advancement? Was it your loyal determination to help the company succeed? Or was it your fiery, competitive spirit that made you want to outshine your colleagues?

Understanding your sales staff requires that you remember your own experiences as a salesperson and the roots that got you where you are today. Use your past incentives to motivate your salespeople, but also recognize that everyone is different and will respond differently to the same incentive.

Like your customers, your staff is made up of a variety of personalities, with unique factors that influence how and why they make a sale. Each take something a little bit different to really get their "A game" out of them. Understanding these differences will help you to create a diverse game plan that will motivate all your sales people by sparking each individual's desire to succeed.

It is best if you cover multiple motivational styles in all that you do. With salespeople you will find that many are motivated by recognition, achievement or just plain competitiveness. It is best that, in addition to money, you provide other outlets to motivate your staff. These alternatives may be more effective than just monetary incentives.

Think about it. When a salesperson receives money as a reward, where does that money go? Typically the money goes into a checking account and is used to pay bills. That is not memorable at all.

When you supplement your compensatory form of motivation with something a little less traditional, your salespeople will remember that far longer than any monetary reward. They will remember it longer because it will mean more to them; it is more important. After all, which is more memorable: receiving a paycheck, or being awarded with a prize or special recognition?

The extra level of importance and sentimental worth that is placed on these supplemental forms of motivation is the key to the effectiveness of your salespeople.

So the next time you sit down to try to find a better way to motivate your sales staff, get a little creative! Run a contest to spark their competitive spirit, or help them see their individual efforts as an important part of the company's larger goal. Whatever you do, make it big and make sure everyone has something to gain from it. Post these goals and give them a lot of attention. Your staff will draw from your excitement and will easily find the motivation to gain the incentive and to make that sale.

Tom Richard is the founder of and also produces a free weekly ezine. Please visit his website for more information.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Whats On The Menu Today

Writen by Hans Bool

A restaurant is good example of a "company" that is dealing with the dynamics of consumer demands.

There are 545,000,000 search results (Google) for the term restaurant. Overture provides 100 different occurrences of restaurants that are most related to a location (New York, Washington, Baltimore, etc) or to a Type of Dish like Italian, Greek, etc. There is also a combination of both (Chinese restaurant New York). The keyword for Overture signals nearly 10,000,000 searches per month (for the word "restaurant" only).

Once you have started your culinary outlet you have chosen for both the location and the dish. The next question is; what is on the menu? This is a question all sales organizations are dealing with. A restaurant is not a typical sales organization, but sales is an important process. So the question is again;

What is on the menu?

The type of dish is not the issue. That choice has been made already. But serving the client is the issue. And this is more of a logistics problem.

You could leave the choice up to the client. You present separate items on the list and leave the client completely free to choose. This requires that you to cater for all the items on the list which is a costly operation.

You could also promote a standard daily menu, for which you will bet that 80% of the clients will go for. In order to pull your clients into this promotional direction you need to do something with the price...

If you have organized your restaurant in this way, you have chosen for the internal focus. Your operation is driving the business. The price is driving the clients (hopefully into the right direction) and you can stay in business until another restaurant pops up around the corner.

Until that moment you have time to think about a real CRM strategy.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice. Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account