You work in a small but growing medical billing software company and had just been promoted to your first management position. You are the sales team manager. Bob and Mary are two of your salespeople, and they have not been performing over the past 6-8 months. You know something must be done. Bob has been with the company for about 12 months. He started out enthusiastically with strong sales during the first six months of his employment, but his enthusiasm is not what it was and his Sales have steadily decreased. Mary has been with the company since it began four years ago.

She is a working mother and is also working to earn her degree online. Her sales have always been average but during the last eight months sales are at an all-time low. Would your Human Resources strategies be the same? Or would they be different? Why? My strategies would be different because as a new manager I would gather my team as a whole, initially, and in an open environment invite them to make suggestions or comments on how the department has been run? What if any changes they would like to see take place?

And if they have any ideas that may bolster team spirit at this time also give each salesman in your team a package containing up to date product information and information on where the company vision is going. Included in this package should be a form which they can fill in with any private comments or concerns, make sure the form does not require a signature to encourage that anonymous safety feature. Once you have duly noted any verbal input in your meeting, set up a time and date you can sit down with each of your team members to discuss privately any ideas, comments or concerns they have.

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I would also take several months to look at all of the information I have gather and to monitor what effect if any making changes suggested by your sales team has made on both Bob and Mary. In month two initiate an impromptus revue of all staff in your team, and sit down with everyone privately and go over your individual revue with them. It is at this time you will truly understand what is going on with Bob and Mary and be able to guide, reprimand or dismiss each of the claims. Always rember in management listening is often more powerful a tool than talking is

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