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Leadership Tips for Salesforce Administrators


Early in my career, I thought leadership was all about the title. I was climbing the ladder to make it to the coveted senior staff meeting. I knew I wanted to drive change and impact, and I thought the only way to get there was to mirror the behavior of other leaders. But when I finally achieved the prestigious executive title, I discovered the secret. A secret that I wish had been shared with me early on, and a secret I will now share with you:

Leadership is not about your title, degree, or accolades. Leadership is the ability to inspire people to take action. You may have also heard this referred to as “executive presence.”

Executive presence is born by showing up as 100% you. Your executive presence is 100% unique.

So, how can you create executive presence and become a leader as a Salesforce Admin? Let’s not overcomplicate it. There are three actionable skills that will support your acceleration:

1. Cut the qualifiers.

2. Become a storyteller.

3. Lead with compassion.

Cut the qualifiers

Qualifiers are phrases like “I don’t know if this is helpful,” or “I just had an idea,” or “I’m not an expert but…” These phrases diminish credibility and signal a lack of confidence to others. To establish credibility, you need to proactively work to cut these qualifier statements — in both your written and verbal communication. Make your point, clearly and directly, and then stop talking. This concept is called “sticking your landing” and signals to people that you are confident about your message. It conveys courage and confidence.

Let’s be clear: Courage is a muscle. It takes time and practice to master. Cutting qualifiers takes feedback and accountability from your team. It has taken me years to master this skill, and I’m still learning. Start today and notice the impact.

Become a storyteller

As the saying goes, “It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.” To inspire a team to action, they need to know why a project is important and why they should care. Think about it: Do you want to listen to someone barking orders? Or do you want someone to lead with explanation and relatability? As a Salesforce Admin, you need to be a storyteller and explain why when you communicate to your stakeholders.

Storytelling connects people to think about:

  1. What was the challenge?
  2. What choice was made?
  3. What was the lesson?

Here is an example of admin storytelling to lead users to adopt a new process builder:

“Our customer success team was frustrated with the manual work involved in task management. To support them, we piloted a new process to automate a year’s worth of tasks with one click. We learned that this saved the team 156 hours of manual work per year.”

Storytelling sets the context, aligns the team, and creates transparency. I invite you to lead your team with stories, not orders.

Lead with compassion

Now for the best-kept secret: compassion. We are all in the business of people, and if people don’t believe that you care about them, they won’t follow you.

The most successful leaders spend the first 20% of a meeting connecting with the room. So, talk about anything but work. Connect with each person as a human, talking about family, friends, and life. This will provide powerful clarity on what’s working and what’s not working on the team. Compassion creates trust, and the most successful projects depend on trust. Lead with compassion and inspire the team to follow you, no matter the circumstances.

Creating an executive presence takes practice!

The formula for creating your own executive presence is scary simple — and it takes practice. By cutting qualifiers, becoming a storyteller, and leading with compassion, you will create an executive presence, become a leader who inspires people to action, and is 100% unique!

To hear more from Emma, check out her presentation from Dreamforce 2019.

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