“We don’t live to work, we work to live.”
Emma Tod, manager of the national strategic accounts team at Allergan, doesn’t just live by this motto, she leads by it. In a recent interview with our team at MedReps, Tod explained how crucial it is for her own work-life balance and success to know which ‘plates to smash,’ meaning when to say “no.”
Tod’s outlook on being passionate about work and life intrigued us, so we spoke to her again to gain some deeper insight into finding true balance.
“It’s all too easy to fall into an unbalanced life and it’s our responsibility as leaders to push back where and when we need to,” she told me.
Understanding how to push back and advocate for your team is crucial in helping them reach their full potential, giving them a healthy work-life balance, and in the end, maintaining optimal retention.
Here’s how Tod ensures her team has the ability to smash their own plates:
Get to know your team
Getting to know each employee’s personal story and needs is the only way you can help them live their best lives and reach ultimate success at work.
After welcoming a new employee onto her team, Tod knew it was important to take the time to get to know exactly what made her excited and what made her overwhelmed.
“It became clear that as a mommy and fellow hungry salesperson, taking time for herself was low on the list. We made an agreement that she’d fulfill a need/want she’d had for some time, simple as it sounds, just to get back to the gym.”
Tod then laid out her own expectations. She explained how it’s OK to fulfill this need on days she worked from home or even while working away each week. No matter what, it was crucial she set aside time for herself to get the creative juices flowing.
Go beyond getting to know your medical sales team’s sales numbers. Dive into what really makes them tick — at work and at home. Once you know their needs, make your expectations clear by offering advice on when or how they should take time for themselves.
Create an environment of trust
Leading a successful and happy sales team isn’t possible without trust and transparency. Tod leads with trust by giving her team the freedom to focus on life outside of work whenever they need it.
“In my experience, with this freedom, team members come back clearer and hungrier than ever,” Tod explained.
Trust and transparency also stem from a strong teamwork environment. Prove to your team they can trust you and one another to support their medical sales endeavors. Use virtual meetings to show you’re aware of and appreciate their time. Additionally, encourage employees to collaborate with one another.
Tod added, “We don’t know everything, nor do we need to. There are many bright and bubbling brains out there we can tap into, rather than trying to be experts in everything.”
And by trusting others to come up with solutions and share ideas, your team will feel inspired and have more time for their other passions.
Stop expecting perfection
Medical sales is a demanding industry. You expect a lot from your team — and that’s OK. However, unrealistic expectations of perfection are detrimental to even the most talented reps. If employees are afraid of making mistakes, they’ll likely waste hours searching for errors that may not even be there.
Even with high standards, Tod ensures her team knows mistakes are acceptable.
“We learn from them [mistakes], share them, and we all grow as a team. I’ve found it’s the pursuit of perfection that leads people to lose their grip on work-life balance,” Tod said.
Show your team the importance of mistakes and how they can actually help the entire sales team. Share your own mistakes and ask employees for their input. As they see their leader’s vulnerability, they’ll begin opening up and spending less time overwhelmed, thinking about mistakes.
Declutter their work lives
Decluttering isn’t just for ridding your closet of clothes you haven’t worn in the past 10 years. It’s also important in helping medical sales employees work efficiently and focus on their top priorities.
When it comes to helping your team declutter, Tod suggests an urgent/important matrix. Use it to delegate their time, noting the specific outcomes each task would produce. This helps them use precision to maximize their time and stop putting in effort where it isn’t necessary.
Decluttering also means letting your team know it’s OK to say “no” or end the day with something half-finished. Tod points out that, as dedicated medical sales professionals, your team will always want to do just one more thing. As their leader, you need to let them know it’s not just OK, but expected that they give themselves a break to recoup.
How do you help your team achieve work-life balance? Let us know!