I once heard somebody say that Leadership = Selling.
It struck me as odd because I had never heard somebody say that before.
While the reverse is not true (selling is not always leadership), I’ve come to the conclusion that leadership is very much about selling your ideas.
If you want to build a great team, you need to sell others on why they should join your team.
If you want your engineering peers to support your design proposal, you need to sell them on the merits of your design.
If you want to propose a specific project, you need to sell the powers that be on why they should fund your project instead of someone else.
If you want to get your staff to follow your strategic plan, you need to sell them on why it’s the right course of action.
If you want to change the culture of your organization, you need to sell others on why change is important and urgent.
Even though such sales don’t involve a product, a service or an invoice, it’s still selling.
Selling is about conveying your ideas and getting others to support them in some way, shape or form.
Leadership IS all about selling — even though it may not seem like that from the outside.
Most people severely underestimate the importance of learning how to sell and how this vital skill is related to career progression.
When you start off in any functional area, it’s about functional competence.
A financial analyst must crunch numbers well.
An engineer must make solid engineering choices.
A marketer must create strong marketing campaigns.
As you advance in your career, your work becomes less about doing everything yourself and more about making decisions, getting them approved, and getting others to execute them.
Making good decisions is about strategy. Once you have decided on a strategy, the rest is execution — getting your proposed strategy funded by and implemented by others.
In short, your job is to sell others on the merits of your decisions.
It is sales pure and simple.
If sales is not an area you’re inherently strong in, especially if you’ve never had a formal sales role, you can complete the form below to be included when I send emails with articles and resources around this important skill.