The workplace is renowned for holding conventional team sales meetings wherein performance, achievement and sales numbers are publicly touted. When sales numbers are met and quotas exceeded, bells ring, horns blow, trumpets play and even obtuse exercises are ritually and merrily performed. Key individuals are buoyed by the recognition, accolades and affirmations which are great but always short-lived, as reaching the next sales quota is always looming. Pressures are real and tensions run high, especially for competitive peers.
When sales goals are NOT met, and public affirmations turn to personal insults, disparaging remarks and character defamation in front of peers, managers need to recognize that this method of “motivation” is counter-productive and can be demoralizing. Criticizing a worker publicly for performance deficiency, unless done lightly with tasteful humor, is unprofessional and disrespectful, an approach that can negatively affect worker’s attitudes toward their work, their regard for management and firm’s overall reputation.
A healthy working relationship is based on mutual respect. Managers possess the opportunity to encourage and inspire and have a responsibility to lead and motivate. Managers do not have the right to bully. If there is an issue, managers should privately communicate concerns and seek to understand, i.e. personal issues that may be affecting work performance. But it’s best to keep this conversation brief and not get too involved in worker’s personal affairs.
Public humiliation and fear do not motivate workers or generate good will. Rather it only serves to feed stress and embarrassment, disenfranchise workers and breed ill-will while depleting team spirit. Public humiliation is not a healthy modus operandi for any company. Showing respect, use of humor and engaging the individual privately to discuss the issue is advised.
Managers: Believe in your people. Treat them with respect and demonstrate support.
Sales professionals: Have a thicker skin. Know you are “in the valley” … everything in life is cyclical and your numbers will come around again. Acknowledge deficiencies. Have an Action Plan. Be prepared to outline how you plan to change numbers going forward and exhibit “Grace Under Pressure.” When you display confidence and don’t cave … when you exude the positive persona, “this too shall pass” … you allay managers’ fears and help avert public displays of angst.
As a sales person myself, I can say, no one is more aware of their performance and numbers than someone in that role. Bullying … and public humiliation is not inspirational, respectful or professional.