Assume that you have been appointed business manager in a company which apart from sale personnel, also employs 12 secretarial and clerical staff including computer operator and a messenger.

Previously the sale staff were the responsibility of the Sales Director, who due to heavy workload delegated responsibility to two experienced supervisors.

There are no proper employee records, job descriptions or job grades for sales staff. What steps would you take to “take control“ of the sale department and bring it up to date? I await the answer.


I would have a fairly short meeting with each of them, starting with the Sales Director, then the supervisors, and so , right down to the messenger .

In advance give them each a questionnaire to complete. Design the questionnaire carefully to find out each person’s job role, responsibilities, (this can form the basis of job descriptions later) issues, problems, challenges. Ask them what they would do given a free hand, and what they would change.

You may find these modules useful; –

Writing a Job Description

Designing a Performance Management System

At the end of that, you should have a fairly good idea where to start to take control .

I have to say, I don’t see that the Sales Director can delegate responsibility for management of the sales team to supervisors,” due to a heavy workload.” Or for any other reason other than ill health. Managing the sales team IS his workload. Find out what else he is busy doing and try to re-allocate tasks that will clear his desk, perhaps to the supervisors.

You may find these modules useful Managing Sales Staff Lessons

Management and leadership of the sales team is extremely important. The only thing more important would be involvement at Board level on developing and managing strategy. If that is the case the he should relinquish responsibility for the Sales team, become Commercial Director or similar, and a new Sales Director be appointed who will produce the results the company needs to survive.