5 Traits of Every Bad Sales Manager


A bad boss at any job can make your life absolutely miserable, but in sales it’s even worse because your sales manager literally has control over whether or not you’ll be able to make a paycheck that week/month etc. There are plenty of great sales managers out there, but no shortage of awful ones as well. The best sales managers lift you up and empower you to succeed while the worst act like they’re in competition with you and think insulting you will produce better results. While we all hope to end up with a great sales manager, we don’t always get so lucky. Here are the five traits of bad sales managers that you never want to get stuck with:

1) Ego issues – This is usually the source of most managerial problems. Since sales tends to attract alpha personalities, and management oftentimes draws those who seek power, a sales manager with ego issues can be much worse than your run-of-the-mill bad manager. There are managers who enjoy the control they have over people so much that they abuse their power, and those who use manipulation to get what they want rather than being respectful. A manager with ego issues is usually trying to make up for their own insecurities and shortcomings, because they usually know deep down inside how ordinary and untalented they really are.

2) Fear – Bad managers fear everything. They fear getting fired, they fear change, they fear that their employees will outshine them or replace them. Fear drives their every decision, and that’s why covering their ass is the most important part of everything they do. But scared money doesn’t make money, and those who lead from a position of fear ultimately won’t get the results they’re looking for, and won’t get the results they would if they tried to motivate and inspire instead.

3) Bad temper – Good managers can control themselves, bad managers flip out over every little thing. Sales environments keep people on edge, with lots of pressure coming down from the top to hit sales goals and keep upper management happy and the stock price up. A good manager is able to take that pressure that comes down from above, and put a positive spin on it while encouraging, and supporting their employees to be the best that they can be. But bad managers take that pressure and instead magnify it as they pass it down to their employees, yelling, intimidating, and punishing. Using negative reinforcement may get temporary results, but someone who secretly resents you is unlikely to be as good of an employee as someone who respects you.

4) Favoritism – This bad trait isn’t exclusive to sales, as anyone who has worked anywhere (especially for a family-owned business) can attest to. But favoritism in a sales environment is bad for the company as it kills morale, and can waste company money if good prospects and situations aren’t distributed based on merit. A manager’s friend, relative, confidant etc. should be treated exactly the same way as anyone else who works for the business, and if the sales manager is incapable of doing that, then they lack the emotional maturity to be in their position in the first place.

5) Focus on the wrong things – Perhaps the most annoying thing a bad manager does is focus on all of the wrong things. You are the top performer, but the sales manager gives you a hard time because you came in at 9:15 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. There are hundreds of highly-qualified internet leads that need immediate attention, but the sales manager is forcing you to make cold-calls instead, because that’s “protocol.” It’s called not being able to see the forrest for the trees. The only things that a sales manager should focus on are keeping the customers happy, making sure sales goals are met and exceeded, and providing support and a positive work environment for their employees.

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