Situational Leadership: Glorified Babysitter to Sales Leader [30 Days]


Everyone’s familiar with the phrase “when the cat is away, the mice will play” – even your team! Yet as leaders, we still have meetings to attend, deals to close, and SDR’s to coach.

So, how do you make sure your team stays on track when you’re not there to keep an eye on them? The common go-to for short-term absence is motivational games that often involve prizes. Who wants to play for lotto tickets? I know I was guilty of this!

For a while, I was so overwhelmed I wanted to walk around wearing a shirt that said: PICK UP THE PHONES! There were even days I’d have another manager pointing out someone on my team that was streaming music, YouTube, or excessively chatting on instant messenger.

The fact is, as sales managers and leaders, we cannot stand over our reps’ desks for 8 hours a day and do their jobs for them.

Last I checked, babysitters only made $12/hour.

As skilled sales managers, at a minimum, we should be able to set expectations, motivate our team to exceed these expectations, and coach for skill competency. These great skills are a great foundation and only happen when you are in the driver seat.

As skilled sales leaders, we can incorporate and learn from a variety coaching and leadership theories. For example, let’s consider the situational theory of leadership, more formally known as the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory.

The most effective leaders are those that are able to adapt their style to the situation and look at cues such as the type of task, the nature of the group, and other factors that might contribute to getting the job done.

Have you applied Situational Leadership to your group of SDR’s identify the nature and map your path to success? It works. After 30 days, I was able to increase daily metrics by 26 percent without throwing money at a contest or hearing the words micromanager.

To make immediate improvement on our team, I instilled team leaders through example, identifying four “Team Champion” roles for each of the leadership styles. The role rotated weekly, ensuring dynamic development of skills.

This worked great for me and my team, and here’s how you can give it a try! Establish the first week Champions by selecting the SDRs that serve as the best example for your team. The following weeks, draw names from a hat every Friday and announce them immediately. This gives your new Champions the chance to prepare and ensures they come in mentally prepared Monday morning.

Designate roles and responsibilities for your Team Champions. Below are just a few examples to consider.

Accountability Champion

  • Recap the previous day’s activities and set the new day’s expectation during a morning meeting
  • When necessary, have a 10-minute standup after lunch to reestablish the day’s ton.

Motivation Champion

  • Organize a “Minute to Win It” style game to play for quick team-building practice
  • Identify a sharable team prize that can be awarded on Friday if weekly targets are met
  • Provide daily motivation, memes, high fives, and praise of small wins

Best Practices Champion

  • Identify a best practice to share with the team during morning meetings, explaining the impact it has and how they can apply it
  • Be prepared to jump in wherever needed in order to support the team if they’re having a slow-to-start morning

Champion of Champions

  • Identifies where the team and their Champions needs support, or where they’ve found challenges, and brings them to the attention of the sales manager.


Ready to stop guessing and start closing? Check out our post on how to balance rapport and relevance (a.k.a. “Should You Talk About the Fish on the Wall?”) and download our free e-book – Good Sales vs. Bad Sales.


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