Team Management Skills: Top 3 Pricing Mistakes & How To Avoid Them
Team Management skills: The top 3 pricing manager mistakes and how to avoid them.
After combing through hundreds of assessment transcripts and interview notes with pricing professionals, we find many pricing managers struggle to inspire others to utilise their potential to drive profitability because of 3 defining characteristics:
- A fixed, technician’s mindset
- A lack of presence
- A reactive, micro-management style
Our latest research also finds that pricing managers who over play their technical capability and deploy controlling micro-manager behaviours detract from their team management skills and deliver suboptimal results.
In this article, we discuss the mindset and presence necessary to get traction, support and achieve results fast. We also offer 10 essential pricing management tips and advice to help you position yourself and your team correctly.
Examples of some unhelpful / dysfunctional pricing manager behaviours impacting team management skills
Newly appointed pricing managers can often struggle to achieve their full potential to drive profitability when they join a new company. One of the main reasons this happens is because they often start their new role with a fixed, technician’s mindset and a lack of team management skills. Behavioural manifestations of a technician’s mindset include:
- A tendency to think you are (or need to be) the smartest person in the room.
- A belief that you must continue to build your career on technical / operational excellence.
- A need to be right & get things perfectly aligned before you communicate results to the wider organisation.
- A tendency to avoid feedback or to view feedback as blame.
- To believe that the team cannot make decisions or function without you.
As you can probably guess, these lacking team management skills do not lead to team success and have a negative effect on the teams’ ability to drive profitability (job transformation).
What happens when pricing managers under utilise their teams
Sometimes the very traits and personal characteristics that launched your career and marked you out for promotion are the same characteristics that can derail team performance further down the line.
For example, we know an executive that was promoted to pricing manager because he was extremely detail focused and highly analytical. He was always relied on to get an accurate answer. However, the four or five pricing skills that got him to pricing manager, were not the ones he needed to excel as a pricing manager. After a year in the role, he left the business and decided to go back to a conventional task based management accountancy role. He did not feel comfortable being intimate with his team. He avoided talking about feelings and would often interrupted people during team meetings. He did not see that his team needed to know wider business strategy and did not share information and data.
When a pricing manager does not ensure that their team’s actions are co-ordinated, sustainable, repeatable and outcomes focused, the follow pricing and people issues occur:
- The team analyses the wrong data and comes up with poor conclusions
- The team produces alternative options that are overly complicated, hard to comprehend by management and overly reliant on gut feel
- The team takes too long to analyse data and/or makes recommendations because the analyst is trying to “boil the ocean”
- The team re-works existing analysis – time delays / missed opportunities
- There are siloed structures that create duplication of work or ideas and inconsistencies in outputs and actions
- There are siloed structures that cause work to become low leverage with no scale or speed
- The team starts to splinter into factions and it becomes everyone for themselves syndrome / data or knowledge hoarding
- The team lacks a voice or does not feel respected across the organisation leading to managers not adopting the recommendations by pricing team and gut feel and reactions ruling the day
How to inspire your team to deliver superior results – team management skills improvement
Our research finds that being a great pricing technician doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll make a great pricing manager. It is not enough to be a good spreadsheet technician. You need to excel at technical pricing and have exemplary team management skills as well. You also need to establish rapidly a psychologically safe environment for your team so that they can thrive in their roles too.
Driving the smarts and capabilities of the people around you demands that you take deliberate steps to improve and learn:
- Develop your emotional intelligence
- Influence your colleagues through the science of persuasion
- Assess your team and enhance its performance
- Network effectively to achieve business goals
- Manage your teams’ expectations
- Navigate relationships with employees, bosses, and peers
- Get support from the leadership team
- Understand the wider business strategy in your daily decision making
- Balance your team’s work and personal life in a high-intensity workplace
- Take time out and recharge
The attributes listed above relate to aspects of a term called ‘Psychological safety’. This is an important concept to study and remember. Psychological safety is not just a warm and fuzzy feeling or space. It is a forum within which you hold safe and constructive conversations with your team.
A good pricing manager always creates safety with their team. They tend to have a direct and straight forward style. They create a safe space for their team to take risks.
By contrast an underperforming pricing manager lacks self-awareness and thinks everything is great when it is not. They do not address issues and operates poor emotional control. They lack purpose and tend to critique other people’s behaviour. Common symptoms of poor management may be panicking over small issues and trying to grab control.
The old adage that we are our own worst enemy is true. As soon as we learn how to control unhelpful behaviours and end negative scripts in our heads, the sooner we stop competing with ourselves.
When we gain this insight into how we operate and function, only then can we apply the same logic to our teams.
Understanding the natural psychological and social norms that exist in the team can greatly improve our networks, and communication across these networks.
Ultimately, if you want to unlock high performance in yourself and in your team, you need to understand your working style and capability. This means knowing specifically how you do what you do, how good you are at what you do and why you do it.
See our blog on stress in the pricing community – in price pressure.