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How to Manage Manipulative Sales Employees

Employees come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. For this reason, things don't always operate as smoothly as you've probably planned. There is rarely smooth sailing in sales. If you hit a storm with a manipulative employee, the whole ship could sink. Managing a manipulative employee is an important skill set to have, especially in sales where profits are important. You don't want someone manipulating coworkers or you. If you have a manipulative employee in your office you can't, or don't, want to let go of, take these steps to create a better working environment for everyone.

Plan Ahead
If you are going to sit down and talk with this employee, as you should, it is important to make sure you have a plan in place. Just as sales professionals practice their calls, you need to practice how you will approach the situation.

  • Gather a few weeks to a month's worth of evidence. Whether it is a complaint from someone on the sales team or interactions you've noticed, you want to make sure you have evidentiary reason to have a conversation such as this with them.
  • Pay close attention to labor laws and the rights of your employee to ensure that they are not violated. Consider seeking legal advice, so that you are prepared in the event that the situation escalates to the employee's termination.

Have a Conversation
Set a meeting time for the conversation about the employee's behavior to take place. If your office has specific rules that have been broken, this is the time to discuss it.

  • Remain calm. Be a professional. Even if their temper begins to rise, yours should not. If things become worse and you decide it is time for the employee to be let go, you don't want a moment of retaliation to be called in to question.
  • Show the employee the documented information and reiterate any company policies they may be violating. If their behavior has impacted a few employees or the company as a whole, make sure you describe what has taken place and the result.
  • Listen. Give the employee a chance to explain. Manipulation is often not done to harm anyone, but is instead used as a cover for other emotions. Perhaps you will be able to uncover why an employee is acting in a certain way and come to a solution this way.
  • Provide examples for how things can be done differently as well as actions that could take place if no change is made. Be firm and communicate clearly what your expectations are.

When managing an employee that uses manipulation in the workplace, it is important to remain level-headed and supported with evidence for when a conversation takes place. A manipulative employee can lower morale, which could damage the end goals of your sales team. Managing a sales team isn't easy and manipulative employees make things more of a challenge. With an effective approach, you can put an end to manipulative employees in your office.

ERICA BELL is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as effective sales software and human resource solutions. She is a web content writer for Media, Inc.

About the Author

Ken Thoreson's picture

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, his company’s consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world.

Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams.” He provides keynotes, consulting services, and products designed to improve business performance. Reach him at [email protected]

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