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What Happens When The Cheerleader Becomes The Coach?

Updated: May 28


Everyone loved him. He was consistently #1 in sales. He was an early riser, a self-starter, followed through on details, was persistent in serving the customer, and warmly engaging. After eight years as the top producer, we promoted him to sales manager.

It was a bust.

The giftedness that caused him to be our top sales producer didn't lend itself to getting results through others.


As a cheerleader, he was great, but as a coach, he suffered.


He ran from holding others accountable. He couldn't confront, and his team missed goals. His life became all about running from accountability.


His giftedness involved engaging and serving customers, not providing the constructive feedback necessary to grow employees and teams. We promoted him out of his unique gifting.

He went from our best to our worst. It wasn't his fault.

Promoting your top producer to the supervisor's role is one of the most frequent mistakes in business. It just feels so right when you are doing it. But, when it happens, everyone loses.


It is my most often repeated mistake.


Peter Drucker says, "Build on your islands of strength." Each of us is wired to thrive in a few areas. But it is draining when we get outside of our core competencies. Building on the islands of health and strength fills your battery. But when you consistently operate outside of your unique gifting, it drains you of your energy.

Lesson: Operating outside your unique gifting drains your energy.


In our business, it was my networking gifts that helped with developing customers and prospects. What I was good at also came easily to me. Generosity is fun. Hospitality and finding a proper place for others to thrive and engage adds fuel to my fire. Operating inside my unique gifting energizes my life.

How do you find your unique gifting? It can start with an important question: Where does the world's great need meet your deep passion?


A significant look at your life experiences, unique environment, and even genetics will reveal for you a specific calling. Wasn't Fredrick Buechner saying the same thing when he said, "Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need?"


Lesson: Operating inside your unique gifting energizes your life.


Never remain stuck!


Harry T. Jones


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