The Common Habit That Destroys Sales Team Performance

Written by Mark Burton-Brown

Mark founded Engagement Partners in January 2016. Before this, he worked in senior international leadership roles for large multinationals such as Schneider Electric, Rexel, Carter Holt Harvey, and Fonterra.

“Let us not seek to blame others for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future”

John F. Kennedy

At its most basic level, taking responsibility in a workplace means being fully accountable for the results of your actions and not making excuses or blaming others when you don’t achieve your goals.

A responsible salesperson performs the duties required by their job. Also, they take ownership of whatever other tasks assigned to them in the sales process, and they are accountable for the outcomes of their work, good or bad.

When sales management fails to act quickly, the bad habits of a poorly behaved sales person spread like weeds, strangling the productivity, morale, and efficiency of what was once a thriving team.

7 ways responsibility-dodgers damage healthy sales team environments:

  1. They reduce productivity and interrupt the sales process by avoiding challenging or tasks they are uncomfortable to perform
  2. They infect mindset by spreading a culture of blame and evasion among sales staff.
  3. They do not learn from their mistakes
  4. They provide inadequate solutions to clients
  5. They cause damage to the client’s perception of the company and product
  6. They gradually undermine the company image and reputation
  7. Their negligence can lead to an unsafe working environment, physically and emotionally

Why is it important to take responsibility for Sales outcomes?
We all make mistakes. Yes, they may cause us frustration and embarrassment, but they’re an important signal that we have at least tried to achieve our goal. They’re a valuable learning opportunity. But the salesperson that won’t admit to making mistakes denies themselves a chance to get better at their job.

The most significant benefit of taking responsibility for our mistakes is that, by acknowledging them, a salesperson opens up to change.

After all, it’s much easier for management to improve a salesperson that’s open to outside influence, coaching, advice, and support.

How can I tell what a responsible salesperson looks like?
Responsible salespeople take pride in their work and use their talents to perform with excellence. They not only show up and do; they choose to go above and beyond the bare minimum.

They do not avoid tedious or unpleasant tasks, nor do they make excuses for their mistakes or blaming others. Instead, they ask ‘what can I do?’, and because they acknowledge their mistakes immediately, they are faster to learn and adapt their skillsets to achieve better results.


If you would like to discuss how we could help you to improve the effectiveness of your front line leadership, please feel welcome to contact us at Engagement Partners.