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Updated: Sep 16, 2021


Once upon a time, there was a company in Mexico called Grupo San Cristobal, a subsidiary of the famous Scott Paper, which was the inventor of toilet paper in the world; At that time, due to the foreign investment law, for the North American company "Scott Paper" to enter Mexico, it had to comply with the regulation that 51% of the investors were Mexican and the remaining 49% were foreign investors .

The foregoing generated a very peculiar organizational culture in the company, sometimes generating extreme positions between the Mexican and North American sides, resulting in constant changes of course. It was in one of those changes, that I join to collaborate in the group "San Cristobal - Scott Paper", as general sales manager, where I was in charge of nine sales executives, who, before my arrival, were doing work against Alejandro, whom I was going to replace due to his poor performance in obtaining results.

Alejandro was a person who did his best to be accepted as the leader of those nine salespeople, however, he did not manage to consolidate his leadership for different reasons of which I will list some that I remember:

📍 His attitude towards his salesmen was despotic and he treated them as his servants and not as true sales executives.

📍 Alejandro believed that having been imposed as a sales manager, he automatically gave it the authority to make his salespeople whatever he wanted, and that's how he did it.

📍His business ethics was somewhat questionable, so some of his behaviors were questioned and criticized by his sales group.

Unfortunately for Alejandro, his direct boss, who served as commercial director, was very similar in his way of being, mistreating and humiliating others, and his business ethics was also very questionable, in addition, his brother-in-law, was the vice president of the company.

Alejandro never understood that “being a boss” did not automatically give him the right to be a leader, since the right to be a leader must be worked on, this being the starting point of leadership.

Anyone like Alejandro, could have been appointed to this position, but said appointment did not guarantee anything about his leadership qualities that, as he already told you, he lacked.

Alejandro's appointment as the newest Sales Manager did not guarantee his ability to influence others, so he did what many mediocre executives do, use his job title to put pressure on his "subordinates" to achieve their budgets sales; the result was that his collaborators did not see in Alejandro a person to trust and less, someone with whom to discuss things, for which, his work team was divided into three unmotivated camps:

✔ Passive hostiles, who murmured against Alejandro behind his back.

✔ Active hostiles, who even faced verbal aggression against Alejandro.

✔ Passive people, to whom life was the same.

This happens especially in organizations that are growing or, in companies like Grupo San Cristóbal, which, being large, try to change for the better; the result, whatever the case, is that the departments are getting bigger and that means a greater need for managers and, it usually happens, that one of the employees is given the status of leader, rewarding him with a greater position (Alejandro went from being a salesperson to National Sales Manager).

This is when two possibilities happen:

a) It may happen that the "new leader" realizes that there is more to leadership that involves stages of growth, and then, will be able to grow to the next level. Therefore, this first level is called "Position", because the appointment of a person to a new position does not guarantee his leadership abilities, but it is a good starting point to experiment and learn the leadership bases that will lead to the second level known as "Permission".

b) Or it may happen that the "new leader" like Alejandro, does not realize that he must learn the stages of growth as a leader, resulting in what actually happened: "his nine salesmen joined forces to sabotage him, to such an extent To the degree that Alejandro, in order not to fire him, they exiled him to the position of Marketing Manager (where only one assistant reported to him) and that is how I came to replace him in his sales functions ”.

Check list for reflection

▶ How many times do you use your title or position in the company to achieve your results?

▶ Do you see your collaborators as such or, as subordinates?

▶ Do you spend time developing your collaborators in their technical and non-technical skills?

▶ Do you practice by example?

▶ If you ask a collaborator to do an activity, can you do it? Could it be that you ask for it because you don't know how to do it?

▶ When a collaborator makes a mistake, do you scold them to the point of damaging their self-esteem? Or do you redirect him through your advice and mentoring?

▶ Do you think that if someone is promoted to a new position, it is because this person already know everything and that everyone will automatically respect her?

▶ Do you consider that respect is earned by intimidating others, creating fear in order for them to give you results?

▶ Are you a manipulative or assertive boss?

▶ Do you know what assertiveness is?

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