Consult Carson 5/12: “I have a bad sales manager. Help!”

From today’s mailbag: “My sales manager is awful! Not helpful, not knowledgeable and not helping me get where I want to go! Help!”

Carson: “True sales leadership is a real strength; one which is unfortunately a rare artifact. We must first consider, whom is responsible for training and mentoring them to be a great sales manager? Is that being done? Time and time again, bad sales managers exist not even out of malice but out of the fact no one is coaching them and holding them accountable and because they are not comfortable seeking out ways to improve.

We will all work for people we do not enjoy working for from time to time. Incumbent upon us in these situations is to find the strengths that the person does have and to understand how to politically position ourselves in partnership with them. For, that is what every management-employee relationship is: a partnership. What can we do to help them? Often, it is in providing results and few headaches, but when we want something from them (promotions, raises, new opportunities and challenges) we must take the initiative. Sometimes, they are caught up in the day to day minutia and unable to be effective. Sometimes, they leave us be because we are performing and they feel they have bigger fish to fry. Whatever the reason, take the onus on yourself to reach across the aisle and schedule a meeting. Ask for their time. Introduce a plan that is respectful of their position but will give you the opportunities you seek. Seldom will a poor manager just hand you something designed to get you promoted; they may delegate and they may give you more work so they have less, but if you find that your priorities are not aligned it’s certainly time to take the initiative to straighten them out.

Like anything in sales, the sales food chain (the relationship from customer to rep to manager to upper management) dictates all; we have the same relationships in each segment of the chain whereby we must understand one another’s goals and work together for a solution! Just as we sell to a customer, we often “sell” to a boss; what are their needs? What benefits can we provide? How can we support them in ways they may not have previously considered? Look for a need, a problem that they may have and offer to be the solution.

Again, your “bad manager” may very well not be bad out of malice! And, even if they are, when you find ways to bring new value to them and play the political game the right way, you can still align your priorities. It can be an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality. Just like you are working with a customer, you find your manager’s motivation and needs and you become the solution, all while working with them on a plan you both agree on that results in a mutually beneficial partnership.

You control more than you give yourself credit for in this equation! Take the initiative in the relationship and you can turn it around.”


Carson V. Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail at or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be.

If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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