How To Manage Disruptive Representatives

Manage Disruptive RepsEvery company has employees that, regardless of performance, will act in a way that leads to conflict. A sales management team needs to handle these individuals in a way that addresses certain aspects of what they do but does not disrupt the rest of the sales force.

According to Drea Douglass, a certified assessment consultant, there are two types of employees that are difficult to manage. These salespeople can be defined as the superstar or the problem child.

A superstar is a representative that may be difficult to manage but they constantly put up good numbers and deliver when it matters. These individuals often rely on their talents and neglect others in the company because of what they have accomplished, said the consultant.

These employees often want to have a say in how things are done at the company and can be assertive in their claims as to what they think is right. Administrative tasks like paperwork are a secondary measure to these representatives and they just want to be left alone as long as they get their work done and hit the quota that has been set, according to Douglass.

The other type of disruptive employee can be known as the true problem child. These workers are often abusive, crass, condescending and rampant complainers. Dealing with these individuals may be difficult, as authority figures can agitate them further, said the consultant.

One can look to the movies for leadership examples, and Miracle – the film about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team – helps to show why certain individuals do more harm than good.

In the movie, Kurt Russell is presented with an opportunity to recruit one of the best college hockey players in the country, but decides against it due to the fact that the individual is a problems and would disrupt the chemistry of his team.

Russel chose to build a team around a bunch of persistent, strong-willed individuals who worked well together as opposed to a group of superstars that couldn’t care less about the team or country for which they were playing. The analogy holds true for teams of salespeople.

“You should not build your team around one person,” said Douglass. “What if they leave? Or, what if keeping them on board alienates a marquee account? By acquiessing and turning a blind eye to bad behavior you’re essentially teaching that person that their behavior is okay and this is how you get away with it.”

A sales management team needs to show that no individual representative is more important than the company, and no matter what numbers are put up, no one is above the law and employees need to adhere to the rules and policies, according to the consultant.

If an individual becomes disruptive, and the appropriate warnings and talks do not have an effect on their behavior, a sales management team should provide them with an ultimatum or cut the worker loose. This can not only solve the present issue but may also show the rest of the team what is going to be tolerated at the company.

“Every sales manager should write out, in great detail, their expectations,” noted Douglass. “Not a list of mandates, but clearly draw out the paramaters in the sand so their is no grey area. That will help you avoid internal issues with your salespeople and creating problem children.”

Employees need to see strong leadership when it comes to handling a potential problem, as the example needs to be set by the executives at the company.