The Role Of The Sales Leader

By | March 30, 2007

To be effective in any sales organisation, a leader has to have the ability to influence using the four power bases appropriately. Generally the more effective the leader the more he/she will utilise personal power supported where necessary by expert power.

In an organisation we have to allow for the influence the leader will have on the ‘situational variables’. These variables are internal and external to the organisation:

External variables:

  • social, political, economic, technological and the historical environment of the organisation

Internal variables:

  • complexity of methodology
  • complexity of information systems and networks
  • number and complexity of decisions and inherent risks
  • democratic/autocratic
  • match/mismatch of individual’s needs and values with those of the organisation
  • rate of change


A leader needs to anticipate the impact of his/her behaviour and the situational variables on the relationship he/she has with his/her subordinates and the effect this resulting relationship will have on individual motivation, group cohesion, and the achievement of results. Should external stakeholders and/or the organisation be dissatisfied then the internal and external situational variables may be modified:

  • Falling profit may result in sanctions from shareholders/financial institutions.
  • Perceived lack of control may result in the imposition of restrictions reducing the scope of the leader to lead. The situational variables will also be major influences upon the job requirements for a leader, so that changes in strategy may require changes in leadership behaviour and in organisational culture, and so lead to a new set of job requirements.

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