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Leadership takes all sorts of forms – what kind is going to be the most effective form for your kind of business? The kind of sales cycles that we work vary pretty dramatically at Acquirent. Some of our accounts are about account management and forming long-term relationships with other businesses. This kind of account means making sure that we are constantly upselling our services for other companies. Other accounts are pure cold-calling, selling things like tickets to expos and products that people will only buy once.

Regardless of the type of product or service you are selling, your leadership style has to match what will work best. Nathan Blackburn, VP of Sales at Acquirent, details what he views to be the best type of leadership in this video.

Types of Effective Leadership

Business writers have broken down the various kinds of leadership that exist. A lot has been written on the topic – it can be difficult to parse a good answer from so many sources! Not even Nate is often sure of the answer of “which leader is best.” Some leaders are authoritarian. These kinds of leaders will tell you exactly what to do, and when they need it done. They’re the kind of person that won’t take no for an answer, and require a solution on their desk by Friday. Other leaders are laissez-faire. These leaders tend to keep their nose out of things, with the expectation of results. There are democratic leaders that prefer feedback and make determinations through consensus. Some leaders are barely even present at all. Nate says that some people think that this can often be the most effect form in some cases!

As you can tell, the kinds of leaders that exist are almost as varied as the number of companies that exist. There are so many styles of management, classifying them can often be fruitless. In truth, the best way to know what leadership style is best depends almost exclusively on what kind of business you have.

What Leadership Will Be Most Effective For Me?

Because each job is different, determine for yourself what is going to work best. For instance, consider an account that requires firm numbers to be hit every month. These types of accounts demand results first, and exist to hit the bottom line. When starting an account like this, closing deals is what is going to count first. Making sure each team member is on top of things is going to be key. As a result, we can probably conclude that we would want to start out with a more authoritarian style of leadership.

Account management might take a more relaxed style to leadership approach. Focused on making sure the customer experience comes first, these accounts focus more on relationship development. Taking a hard line to these accounts might turn away customers – reflect this in your leadership style. Encouraging an open, egalitarian approach to management might be the move here. Make sure your employees are heard and communicative with you. The numbers will speak for themselves when results flow in.

While these types of accounts reflect different leadership styles, don’t be afraid to re-examine and reflect on changing that style. The way you manage a team will grow along with the needs of your account. A new account might require a lot prodding in order to move in the right direction. However, once your account has figured out all of the issues, you might want to slacken your approach. Authoritarian rule can take a lot out of your team, demoralizing them and, in the worst case, make your employees look towards other places to work. While you are trying to hit numbers, never forget that at the end of the day your sales team consists of regular people who have lives outside of the office. Alternatively, if you’ve been too loose with an account, numbers might come crashing down. Base your leadership on what is going on.

Bruce Lee Said It Best

Sales cycles and sales goals change with every passing day. Being adaptive and flexible in these situations will determine the success of your leadership. As Bruce Lee once said: “Be like water. Be fluid.”

What this means is that you must adapt to the situation ahead of you. While having a consistent strategy can be effective in the short term, circumstances are constantly changing. We can forecast trends that might be ahead of us, but nobody can predict the future. We can always prepare for what might come next. Like Bruce Lee, decide for yourself the approach you will take, and do not be afraid to change to take account for the sales environment.