Transformational Leadership and its Impact on Sales Performance

BusinessSales / Service

  • Author Sean Tan
  • Published August 13, 2021
  • Word count 6,541


This paper aims to explore the different kind of leadership and how they impact the organization, especially in the area of sales performance and organization citizenship. The existence of both transformational and translational leaders in the current business world is important to high organization performance. We will share nature of both transactional and transformational leader and why is it important they should be both present in a high performance organization. We will also dive deeper in to transformational leadership's critical role especially in an organization that require to adapt rapidly in the current unprecedented economic conditions, as well as challenges faced by transformational leaders. The paper will explore both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how should we understand them so that we are able to better inspire the team. We will also discuss how transformational leadership will directly impact sales performance and will share a few case studies to illustrate the impact. A section of the paper will discuss how sales leader should adapt to the new pandemic norm and adopt a new prospecting strategy and leadership style. The paper will conclude with what we believe should be the new approach for a transformation leader in the new normal for high performance and organization citizenship team behavior.

Keywords: Covid-19, extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, organization behavior, sales leadership, sales performance, transactional, transformational leadership.

Transformational Leadership and its Impact on Sales Performance


Good leadership acts as the backbone of any organization's prosperity. The kind of leadership employed by an organization will facilitate how the organization's future will be attained. By good interpersonal relations and enable effective individuals to succeed at a higher level. Leaders must have leadership qualities because it is an important feature of management that helps to optimize productivity and accomplish organizational objectives. Therefore, governance is critical to the performance of every organization, and no establishment can function effectively in the exclusion of successful leadership. An organization is formed to pursue specific goals by a social group that becomes critical to monitor this person emotionally.

The main objective of this paper aims explore the different kind of leaderships and how they impact organizations with emphasis on sales performance. With the deeper understanding of the different leaderships and motivation style, our goals will be to share how the pandemic has impact sales organization across the world and the approach a transformation sales leader can take to lead a high performance team in the post pandemic world.

Transformational Leadership and its Impact on Sales Performance

Work on transformative leadership has increased, with enthusiasm becoming the most significant construct. Max Weber is the social psychologist who coined the word likability to characterize a type of social authority, claiming that transformational leaders gain power from their actions and personality instead of hierarchical status, laws, or practice.

Businesses and organizations are governed by leaders who have acquired skills from all various fields, which help them carry on with everyday activities. For the most organization to succeed in their daily activities, the top management needs to have specific leadership skills. One of the common kind of leadership which is present in our organization is transformational leadership. This kind of leadership is where the leaders are characterized by inspiration toward the workers to achieve more in the organization where they work for. Also, the administration is normally involved in encouraging one another. Transformational leadership has a great influence by setting the pace by defining a better example right from the executive level through the subordinate workers. Besides, culture stated and exercised by top leaders make the employees be part of the organization. At all times, transformational leadership has influenced the better performance of the organization. (White, 2018)

Additionally, transformational leaders have the responsibility to enthuse their human resources while maintaining their leadership skills of not micromanaging the trust of their employees at all costs. Such leaders will have to take control of the authority each time they are making decisions. Furthermore, it is a kind of leadership that allows employees to have a free environment whereby they can develop new skills and build confidence repeatedly until they are in better positions in their job posts. Through the right procedure, transformational leaders are willing to change the entire mindsets of the company in the future, and the employees will be able to solve issues and make decisions that are most preferable by many. Employees on the leadership track will also be prepared to become transformational leaders themselves through mentorship and training. Transformational leadership involves using your abilities to foster leadership potential in others.

As per Figure 1 below, there are four types of leadership, known as the four I's, that one is required to become a transformational leader (Breaux, 2021).

Figure 1 : Psychological Foundations of Leadership - Mary Elizabeth Janzen, 2018

Idealized Influence

Consequently, just like in another mode of leadership in transactional leadership, idealized influenced governance is characterized by finding highly respected leaders across the board in the organization by all of their team members due to the pattern they set for others. Furthermore, these kinds of leaders provide a very strong vision and a sense of belonging that inspire people to buy into the different strategic plans and helps everyone to accomplish their respective objectives. As a result, these people serve as effective leadership skills, and their subordinates mimic or mimic them as they strive to become leaders by following in their footsteps. Transformational leaders act as role models for their fans. Since adherents admire and admire the leader, they copy them and contextualize their values.

Inspirational Motivation

Leaders who use Inspirational Motivation in transformational leadership styles usually have two main goals in his/her mind, which must be achieved to serve the purposes. Firstly, the leader must be clear about his/her vision in the organization. Secondly, the same leader must be able to rapid his or her vision in a manner that excites and drives higher performance levels. To encourage and recognize others as leaders, one must first understand how to tap into the aspirations of teamwork. These types of leaders must exhibit the common characteristics are courage and recognizing that individuals want to do their work well. Successful leaders know that this is a natural need. Encouragement and demonstration of confidence in a person's talents contribute to his or her profession, often having an important influence.

Transformational leaders simplified their vision the ease of communication to their teams. These leaders will also use inspirational motivation to instill in their members the same drive and determination to succeed. (Ray, 2021)

Individualized Consideration

According to transformational leadership, Individualized consideration may be considered to the degree of how much leaders tend to show attention to all of his/her followers depending on the needs one has. Most of the time, they have the responsibility to assume the coach's duty to the workers. Leaders need to listen to the employees' concerns. Some of the behaviors which entail this kind of transformational leadership may include deliberating and commiserating with the needs of discrete workforces. Additionally, making interactive influences with workers is another character of individualized consideration in transformational governance. Also, it involves offering support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive relationships, transformational leaders keep lines of communication open so that followers feel free to share ideas and so that leaders can offer immediate recognition of the unique contributions of each follower. At all times, one must show genuine compassion with his/her followers to achieve a common goal. Eventually, encouraging professionalism, development, and personal growth of employees reached.

Intellectual Stimulation

Intellectual stimulation is one of the elements of transformational leadership, which is entirely characterized by a leader who is willing and motivated to encourage, innovate, and develop new kinds of creativity within an organization. Besides, the aspect of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. More so, this kind of leadership is more in the imagination world since employees are arousing and induced to follow their leaders. This allows them to simulate the abilities they can observe from their leaders. Most of the time, they have ended up having more skills in solving problems intellectually. Most people are more likely to be attracted by influential leaders who stimulate their curiosity, defy them at all times so that they can be able to think and have a chance to learn (Breaux, 2021). Therefore, the intellectual stimulation mode of leadership will inspire honesty to new, stirring ideas and options. These are some of the ingredients that are essential for the team and success of an organization. (Breaux, 2021)

The Most Important Aspects of Transformational Leadership

Not all leaders are considered equivalent. Even though some people are only interested in guaranteeing that everyone else beneath them obeys simple laws and achieves predetermined objectives, some choose to motivate as they lead. Many who are concerned with inspiring people to be the best they can be rather than maintaining guidelines are pursued the title transformational leadership. Thus, for one to be a transformational leader, he/she should have the following principles.

Perception Formation

Transformational executives must be more interested in creating some entire look for both the corporation and individuals more than focusing on the time-consuming task of tracking workers' everyday activities. Although the leader would determine that all those under their command obey the rules he/she establishes, this should not be his/her top consideration.

Buy-In from Followers

Effective leaders must rely on persuading those over them to believe in the leadership styles they use. By demonstrating to subordinates how the leadership style ones using. This will maximize the probability that others under his command are completely committed to the initiative in action rather than merely going through because they don't believe they have any alternatives.

Trailblazer Direction

Transformational leaders give transparent and comfortable direction to everybody who reports to them. Leaders who may not follow the transformational leadership paradigm, on the other hand, will effectively be penalty providers, carrying out draconian penalties to workers before stating clearly what they're doing during the first instance. This technique could be very difficult for workers who want to satisfy and will seek the leadership's direction if they had it.

Transformational Leadership's Advantages and Difficulties

Attributes are extensively studied and successfully affect subordinates on all stages. For instance, good leaders understand and reinforce the desires and ideals of their affiliates. On the other hand, bad governance may have several elements that dwell on the surface rather than the required level of commitment and approach leadership as a characteristic attribute but rather developed comportment; they do have the ability to abuse influence. Therefore, since leadership style encompasses so many facets of teamwork, there are no clear steps for management. It is an iterative method to become a successful transformational leader. This implies that a concerted effort is needed to follow a transformative leadership look.

Transformational vs Transactional Leadership

In every organization, the presence of high-performing leaders is a key thing that has to do with the kind of inspiration that will take place in an organization. Most of the worker's performance is more likely to rely on how well their leaders have the skills, passion, and leading mode. As a result, organizations have introduced various kinds of Leadership so that they suit the needs of the organization and the well-being of the employees.

The existence of both transformational and translational leaders in the current business world is important to ensure prosperity and the ongoing dynamics.

Figure 2 : Transformational vs Transactional Leadership - Sarah Murdoch 2021

As per Figure 2 above, most transactional leaders in an organization will make sure that all the duties assigned to the workers are done according to the standards and policies of the organization. On the other hand, transformational leaders will be willing to work with employees who keep on inspiring, instilling values that will bring out the best in them for the organization and a personal level. Therefore, the literal difference between the two leadership methods is that transactional governance is more concerned with the way tasks are completed perfectly. In contrast, transformational Leadership is structured to incorporate harmonization, communication, and collaboration through the motivation of employees. Furthermore, Transformational leadership models are critical to a small company's business successful implementation.

Transactional leaders navigate all of the complexities that work together to create a good competitive edge while maintaining staff active on its front line. Consecutively, in most medium-sized companies, transformational personalities with leaders are at the helm set lofty expectations and will accomplish exponential growth, compelled by a leader's ambition and team-building abilities. However, transactional leaders have a unique edge in that they can resolve minor organizational information easily. Besides, transactional Leadership is a form of governance that uses incentives and penalties to motivate employees while strengthening the current organizational culture in a hierarchical setting. On the contrary, transformational leaders use optimism and passion to motivate employees. The followers' principles, beliefs, morality, and needs are prioritized. Moreover, changing the current corporate ethos on a visionary basis and in a comprehensive manner. (Surbhi, 2019)

Transactional Leader's Qualities

Transactional leaders monitor and manage the autocratic model of governance, which ensures they will not make adjustments or get interested if anything goes as planned. Besides, negative exclusions, such as missed revenue expectations or output efficiency targets, are dealt with immediately. This leadership style can be seen in varying extents of experience and varies according to priorities and purpose. Furthermore, the aspect of contingency's gains and incentives comes up often in debates of organizational commitment. Jobs understand that their compensation is dependent on them performing the assignments that have been delegated to them. As a result, the leader must establish reasonable requirements that the employee understands.

In most cases, the leaders will be on the move to substitute the requirements of a leader for the needs of an adherent and accentuate growth in setting goals, directing them, and striving to control outcomes. For instance, military, large organizations’ Leadership tend to employ such kind of Leadership. (Silva & Mendis, 2017).

Characteristics of a Transformational Leader

Most transformational leaders are characterized by the four I's of Leadership and have high ambitions for their workers. For instance, they can do their best by encouraging, motivating, and teaching workers to succeed beyond and above their normal standards. Therefore, they are Idealized influencers and ready to share and exhibit essential standards and conviction. Also, they have inspirational motivation, which enables workers to convey self-assurance and sagacity of tenacity. Consequently, they tend to be more individualized and considerate, having well-connected feelings and needs toward other people. Lastly, they got intellectual stimulation whereby they give workers chances to learn and develop innovative ideas within an organization. (Kouni, & Panta, 2018)

Extrinsic Motivation vs Intrinsic Motivation

To be motivated is to feel compelled to take action. A motivated team is a productive team. Identifying internal and external motivators helps increase productivity, feelings of fulfillment, and growth and advancement in career. When it comes to what drives us, we all have different motivations that are either intrinsic or extrinsic, which some of them are shown in Figure 3. We will go further into greater details of both Extrinsic motivation vs Intrinsic motivation.

Figure 3 : Extrinsic Motivation vs Intrinsic Motivation - Jurgita J 2021

Extrinsic motivation refers to individuals' actions to perform activities and acquire new skills when motivated by external incentives or the avoidance of punishment. In this situation, you indulge in acts not because you like it or find it attractive or rewarding, but because you want to get something in exchange or escape something negative. Extrinsic rewards are either tangible (e.g. a fancy car, popularity, money) or psychological (commendation or lack of critic). Employers find it easy to encourage and promote extrinsic motivators. However, this motivation does not last for long. Employers can encourage extrinsic motivation by allowing supervisors who supervise workers to reward them with pay raises, time off, promotions, benefits, and other tokens of appreciation (Kuvaas et al., 2017)

Upper management should contemplate incentive structure. they should decide what can be given to staff, and what the organization can afford, or get innovative and come up with budget-friendly ideas such as pats on the back and words of gratitude, employee of the Month recognition, pay increases, and promotions to recognize a job well done. Appreciation days can be held every year, and bonuses at the end of the year. Extrinsic motivation should have expectancy, instrumentality and valence, to successfully motivate employees. To make an awarded work, workers must first assume that putting in more effort would result in better results. Second, employees must believe that improved performance will be heard and rewarded, and third, employees must genuinely want the promised incentive (Makki & Abid, 2017)

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation has its challenges. It's unclear if working longer hours or focusing more intensely would improve results. It's not as easy as "harder work equals more efficiency" in a knowledge-based economy. If your work is highly interdependent and others aren't putting in the same effort, your results will remain unchanged. The majority of staff do not believe that improved output would be acknowledged. And, if it does, it takes too long. Many studies indicate a negative relationship between incentive pay and employee success or that workers have a strong desire for other types of compensation. Extrinsic motivation is challenging to leverage appropriately. As more leaders have realized this, the discussion has turned to properly harnessing intrinsic motivation to get people to do their best work.

Intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is defined as the act of doing something for no apparent external reward. When you feel motivated or energized to complete a mission because it is personally satisfying, you have intrinsic motivation. It is doing the task because of an internal drive rather than an external incentive or pressure. For intrinsic motivation, the incentive is the action itself.

Intrinsic motivators can be tricky to work with: The sort of internal motivation that propels one employee may have no bearing on her coworker. Examples of inherent motivators in the workplace are; the need to finish a difficult task to learn and improve new skills, the need to prove to yourself, your colleagues, and your boss that you can handle complex projects. also, the various triggers to help you get ahead, such as the desire to feel important and desired, or the anticipation of a promotion and the desire to do your best simply because you love your work or want to support the business (Makki & Abid, 2017)

Curiosity fuel people's desire to explore and learn solely for the sake of learning and mastering. Being challenged encourages people to perform at their best all of the time while remaining committed to achieving realistic goals. People have an inherent desire to be rewarded, so happiness becomes a reward in and of itself when their efforts are noticed and appreciated by others. Cooperation with others fills the need to be a part of something bigger. Since collaboration entails assisting others and working together for a common purpose, it also provides a sense of fulfilment. Cooperation with others fills the need to be a part of something bigger. Since collaboration entails assisting others and working together for a common purpose, it also provides a sense of fulfilment.

To practice better intrinsic motivation, one needs to identify enjoyable aspects of the job and other hobbies or find ways to make tasks more enjoyable. Focus on your worth, the intent of a mission, and how it benefits others to find meaning. Set attainable goals that concentrate on mastering an ability rather than external gains to keep yourself challenged and help those in need. Instead of focusing on winning, enter a competition and focusing on the camaraderie and how well you do. Visualize a time when you felt proud and accomplished before beginning a mission, and reflect on those emotions while you strive to complete the task (Kuvaas et al., 2017)

The two types should be used together in the workplace to achieve optimum results. However, extrinsic incentives should be used sparingly due to the over justification effect. When used inappropriately or too often, extrinsic incentives may detract from intrinsic motivation. If you reward an activity that was already intrinsically rewarding, the incentives could lose their value. Extrinsic reinforcement is often perceived as bullying by certain people.

In conclusion, extrinsic motivation differs from intrinsic motivation in that extrinsic motivation is more about financial rewards, status, and recognition. In contrast, intrinsic motivation is more about personal development, a sense of obligation, and the glory of intent. There should be a balance of both types of incentives to keep all employees inspired to provide results.

Leadership Impact on Sales Performance Behavior and Citizenship

Salesperson performance is the ability to achieve sales targets individually or collectively. Sales performance can be evaluated through sales income, customer retention rate or set of new accounts. Organizational citizenship behavior is described as human behavior that involves voluntary action and mutual help without the expectation of remuneration or formal rewards. They are habits that sales leaders relate to sales productivity. Such behaviors include planning, making service calls, prospecting activities, preparing presentations and putting up promotional displays. Leadership skills and techniques have been proven to have a direct impact on sales performance behavior and organizational citizenship.

Every sector and company have experienced unprecedented economic conditions. The majority of sales teams are confronted with situations they have never seen before. New company conversations are more difficult than ever before. Targets remain large, and redundancies have resulted in fewer people actually doing the job. The culture of a traditional sales team is numbers-driven, competitive, and achievement-oriented. Teams are constantly under pressure to perform at their best in order to achieve hourly and regular objectives. When you add in the effects of the financial crisis, it's easy to see why people are solely focused on short-term outcomes and their own success rather than the teams. Sales leaders and executives are still under duress. They are noticeable, vulnerable, and responsible for the results of their teams. Rather than encouraging individuals to make their own choices, they opt for a quick fix by telling people precisely what to do, which leads to mistakes and poor decisions. This type of behavior encourages unhealthy rivalry among teammates.

Leader’s ability to develop and communicate a captivating vision determines sales performance. Employees will be able to relate to a clear and concrete vision on an emotional level. It is critical to an organization's survival plan in these difficult economic times. Leader’s ability to develop and communicate a captivating vision determines sales performance. Employees will be able to relate to a clear and concrete vision on an emotional level. It is critical to an organization's survival plan in these difficult economic times. An example will be Frank Pacetta, Executive Vice President of Xerox who took over Cleveland district when it was in disarray. He is able to motivate, provide a clear vision to his team and turn around failing operations. He thrived when conditions were unfavorable, using unconventional tactics to bring in more sales and turning the them into high performance team

People must understand what is expected of them and how their actions will lead to the vision's realization. This will ensure their dedication and participation through gaining an awareness that, while short-term goals are essential, they must also focus on the future, their growth, long-term consumer relationships, and creativity in a sales environment.

Walmart announced a $2.0 billion consolidated net loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, which ended on January 31, 2021. However, operating income for the quarter was $5.5 billion, with overall sales of $152.1 billion. For the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, operating income increased by 3.1 percent year over year (YOY), while overall revenue increased by 8.6% percent as per Figure 4. The net loss in the fourth quarter was partially due to a $1.4 billion deduction for income taxes, as well as a $1 billion. This performance is associated with poor management and Covid 19.

Figure 4 : Walmart Q2Q revenue – Walmart filing

To keep employees focused on achieving high results, sales leaders must challenge them. Although sales teams are known to be difficult, leaders should encourage employees to collaborate more and share best practices and lessons learned on a regular basis. Individuals may be challenged by being encouraged to make their own choices and find solutions to their own problems rather than relying on their leader or boss. Support is the third main leadership action, which is often in short supply among competitive sales teams.

Sales leaders who focus on ensuring that the service they provide is tailored to the needs of each customer provoke higher sales performance. They must comprehend how different individuals are affected by the pressurized climate. Leaders must provide adequate assistance to salespeople under all conditions. Apples drop in sales and profitability in 2018 have been attributed to poor leadership. Apple currently predicts sales of $84 billion (£66 billion) with a gross profit margin of 38%, down from $89 billion to $93 billion previously. Apple made US$88.3 billion in the same period last year, with a gross margin of 42 percent. Many of Apple's other companies will be "constrained" because of the App Store and iTunes, which accounted for 14% of sales in fiscal 2018. This includes Macs, iPads, Watches, and, of course, iPhones, which accounted for 62.7 percent of overall Apple sales in 2018, up from 63.4 percent in 2016.Apple have reported a gradual increase in revenue since 2013. The Company had experienced a decrease in growth in 1990 after Steve Jobs’ resignation as CEO. Jobs rejoined the company in 2001 and launched iPod and iTunes bringing in more revenue. The company’s’ revenue increased by $14.2 billion between 2019 and 2020 despite the current Covid 19 pandemic. The graph below shows revenue movements for apple between 2013 and 2020

Figure 5 : Apple 2013 to 2020 Annual Revenue – Company Filing

Motivational and developmental feedback is also important. People like to know what they've done well and what they can do better. Rewarding effort and hard work is a form of motivation that has worked effectively on many organizations. Both are essential for peak efficiency. A feedback-hungry climate must be fostered by the sales leader. Support can take many different forms, ranging from preparation and development to one-on-one success coaching.

As an example, Jim Jensen, CEO of Grantree Furniture Rental Company and Thousand Trails, Inc brought great success through coaching and supporting of his sale team. He allowed new sales recruits to observe him in the field, feedback on their weakness and found solutions for them.

Organization citizenship and behaviors are highly valued by leaders because they improve personal productivity, unit performance, ability to recruit the best workers, and ability to adapt to a changing environment. For example, a sales leader's personal productivity can increase when salespeople support each other with work related problems. It enables the leader to devote more time to more productive activities such as strategic planning, enhancing business processes, and safeguarding valuable resources. They are diligent because they free up a leader's time, encourage the leader to assign more responsibility to them, and need less supervision. Furthermore, it is a display of sportsmanship, since a leader's time isn't wasted on minor grievances. This system of leadership has been broadly used by Amazon for sustainable growth.

Leaders must take measures to avoid causing difficulties for coworkers, as this helps the leader to avoid the pit of “crisis” management, and make positive recommendations for enhancing unit efficiency to the degree that they are eventually implemented. Organization behaviors are indicators of attitudes that contribute to the company in other ways. For instance, good citizenship, a positive attitude, maintaining good relationships with coworkers, and cooperating lead to overall organization performance. For example, Walmart have been able to maintain steady sales over the years through intensive training and development programs for their salesforce (Chinomona & Mofokeng, 2017)

Mary Kay created a large organization - Mary Kay Cosmetics with over 200,000 sales people and sales managers. She achieved over US$300 million sales in a month by inspiring the team through company through clear visions and transformational sales leadership

Covid 19 have significantly impact the firm’s ability to repay loan balances as indicated by the Figure 6 below. As per Figure 6, we can see large organizations have deeper pockets and they not need to take too much loans. Hence they are not too impacted in their ability to pay loans. We can see the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Agriculture, Manufacturing and the Services industries are the most hard hit in their ability to service their loan. They maybe capital intensive and as SMEs, they may not have the necessary funding and have to rely heavily on bank loan

Figure 6 : Firm’s ability to pay loans – S&P Global Intelligence

In conclusion, people are an organization's most valuable asset, and as frontline salespeople continue to be the center of attention when it comes to meeting financial goals, leaders must step up to the challenge and assist them. Organizations cannot predict the entire work scope needed for target achievement except for the contractually defined minimum job descriptions, so organization citizenship behaviour is an essential component of employee productivity. Leaders should spend twice as much time on internal work as they do on coaching, and sellers should spend less than a third of their time selling. In this manner, teams will be able to implement the customer experience strategy quickly and efficiently with the help of preparation, coaching, content, and communication.

Sales Leadership and Prospecting in a COVID 19 World

Covid-19 has brought out a wide range of severe challenges for sales. Such challenges call for a structured framework to assist sales leaders in understanding and responding to Covid-19. It is important to consider social and technical variables when studying organization change. The Covid-19 shocks have impacted different variables that also affect other sales variables. This paper discusses the structural, social and technological problems brought by Covid-19, their impact on sales and how leaders are responding to them.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sales team is dealing with an increased number of health problems such as stress and anxiety. These problems have effected their ability and inclination to perform current tasks as well as gain new knowledge and skills. Sales leaders have reacted by reassuring, increasing accommodations, offering daily reports, and being more patient with the salesforce. Sales leaders have also responded by encouraging salespeople to mind their health by washing their hands frequently, exercising, meditating, and limiting their caffeine and alcohol intake on a regular basis. Some organizations have reduced the number of working hours for sales people. Additionally, some organizations are temporarily and permanently laying off sales workers to minimize costs while others are hiring new talent from the laid off workers of competitors (Dean, (2020). As an example, due to the sharp drop in passenger traffic, US airlines have requested more than $50 billion in federal assistance. According to IATA, airlines could lose 11-19 percent of global passenger revenues by the end of the year. Figure 7 below illustrates lay off of workers both permanently and temporarily. It is observed that large organizations and services industry are significantly laying off huge amount of workers temporarily. This is not surprise as organization move to reduce cost amidst the sharp decline in revenue and demand.

Figure 7 : Human resource layoff across different sectors

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing shifts in the pace and manner in which sales tasks are completed. Many salespeople are executing their tasks over digital channels. Due to social distancing and remote working spurred by the internet, digital networks have grown in popularity. Email receipt and sending, social media use, virtual selling videoconferencing are forms of digital communication being relied on. The changes in tasks have influenced the relevance of certain skills and abilities. Leaders are forced to modify their training program to include training on the use digital technologies. Such training is done through videos. Performing new tasks is equipping them with new relevant skills.

Salespeople are also providing services such as updating customers on the status of their orders and changes in organization operations, altering product deliveries to meet new customer specifications, addressing redirected queries from other organization centers and explaining emerging challenges in logistics. Leaders are rearranging production tasks such as performing tasks planned in the future in order to optimize productivity. They are also altering working schedules to accommodate changes in the education calendar and performing previously deprioritized tasks (Hartmann & Lussier (2020).

Sales leaders and their teams have had to alter customer preferences. This has brought changes to products receiving more sales effort, valuable products and value propositions. For instance, more effort has been put in identifying and managing customer risk, and concentrating on products with increasing demand and more prospective customers. For example, there is an increase in demand for medical equipment and supplies, need for privacy and security of information and a shift to low cost purchases to minimize expenses. The success of this changes is highly dependent on the task force skills and abilities.

Sales leaders are also having difficulty assessing sales force operations and determining who can receive additional assistance. Sales leaders depend on technology to assess the habits and needs of their teams, because it’s impossible to rely on personal observation and conversation. Customer management systems are used to track and assist salespersons and customers. Salespeople can also provide feedback regarding changes taking place. For instance, salespeople can forward feedback received from customers, to their leaders through virtual platforms (Hartmann & Lussier (2020). This has led to a rise in business for technological companies. Alibaba's Ding Talk, Byte Dance’s Lark, and Ten cent’s WeChat Function are examples of apps from other parts of the world that help people all over the world work from home. These app rankings were compiled by Sensor Tower, and all three apps saw a year-over-year increase in downloads from January to February 2020, namely, Lark (6085 percent), Ding Talk (1446 percent), and WeChat Work (572%). Ding Talk, an Alibaba-developed app, was released in 2020.

Collaborative solutions such as slack and zoom have reported record breaking growth figures. Microsoft have recorded a monthly growth figure of 775% in March 2020 in Italy after the stay at home order. The Microsoft virtual company recorded a spike of 300%. The entertainment industry has also experienced a huge spike from individuals lock down. Netflix apps downloads increased by 60% in Italy,30% in Spain and 9% in US. Amazon prime video have also increased usage. Video games have also increased in popularity. The Verizon video game recorded a 75% increase in usage after one week of lock down. Digital game purchases increased by 11%

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant structural changes. Quotas, workload goals and tasks, and incentives such as travel developed prior to the pandemic are often no longer valid in the current situation. This is frequently due to the fact that many of the aforementioned human and technological changes limit the performance, productivity, and effectiveness of the organization. Some prospective and current customers' availability, responsiveness, tastes, and buying appetite are being influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, some sales leaders and companies are revising targets, quotas, workload requirements and tasks, predictions, and benefits in response to concerns about retaining morale and improving salesperson wellbeing (Dean, (2020).

According to UCTAD, Covid 19 has resulted in mixed fortunes for different internet media service companies and ecommerce companies. A few ecommerce companies like Shopify, Amazon, Alibaba and Zoom (not in the chart below) record 40% to near 100% increase in revenue in a Covid hit economy, other internet service companies, relating to travel and lodging recorded a decline in revenue. Uber recorded a 10.9% decrease, Expedia -65.9%, Booking holdings -63% and Airbnb -37% as illustrated in the Figure 8 below.

Figure 8 : Revenue comparison for online / ecommerce companies

During the crisis, there have been rethinking about what sales success is and entails. Of course, such a move will have an impact on the job and human component, causing salespeople to calibrate their behaviors, experience and abilities to what is recognized resulting in both expected and unintended adjustments. In addition, sales leaders are emphasizing the development and implementation of new processes to ensure that documentation and details that would otherwise be shared physically and face-to-face are now exchanged digitally. Companies are now under growing pressure to develop continuity of operations plans in the event that one or more senior executives or sales leaders are unable to fulfill their responsibilities (Hartmann & Lussier (2020).

In conclusion, the Covid-19 pandemic have created challenges for salespeople forcing organizational leaders to come up with new ways of coping to maintain sales. The pandemic has caused remote working, important meetings have been postponed, and travel restrictions across borders put in place, mental health issues. This have led to shortages of inventory, breakdown of supply chain and logistics issues. The management have turned to technology in an attempt to resolve some of these problems.


In summary, in the same organization, all forms of leadership styles can be required to neutralize one another and help accomplish developmental goals. Transactional leaders ensure that the team works seamlessly and delivers results now, while leadership styles encourage creativity and think forward. This kind of Leadership heavily affects the performance of the organization. Executive management needs to ensure all mode of Leadership is incorporated with the entire organization and distributed evenly to ensure that a balance emerges within the organization. Considering the importance of all sales personnel in an organization, organizations ought to value the leadership models in sales marketing sections to achieve the intended business objectives. During extreme conditions such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, sales may go down. Still, the resilience of the leaders and innovation will keep the organization moving forward, and finally, the entire objectives of the organization will be achieved.


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Sean is currently working on his final thesis on AI and Leadership on this PhD, Management

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