Discipline, Authenticity, and Transparency: how one sales manager flourishes with his team and family

Get to know Lucien Payne

Lucien Payne is senior sales manager who manages SR1-SR4 teams that include multiple managers and over 20 sales reps.

Early in his career, Lucien worked as an inbound sales representative for Comcast. This sales role experience helped him develop the skills needed to excel in the sales industry.

Outside of work, Lucien has several personal interests. One of his passions is creating music. He enjoys composing and producing music that is inspired by a variety of genres. He also loves to play NBA 2k and is an avid fan of the sport.

Most importantly, Lucien values spending quality time with his family. He recognizes that family is his top priority and makes a conscious effort to put them first. Whether it’s playing games, watching movies or just enjoying each other’s company, he cherishes the time spent with his loved ones.

Today, as a senior sales manager, Lucien is responsible for managing multiple teams and sales reps. He works closely with managers to ensure that their teams meet their sales targets and exceed customer expectations. Lucien brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, having worked in the sales industry for many years. Despite his busy schedule, he remains committed to his personal interests and family time, which helps him maintain a healthy work-life balance.

How did you get started in this field of work?

“I started my career in shoe sales, working at Foot Locker without knowing anything about sales or commission. I usually worked in the back, but for three days, I was put on the floor to help customers. As a result, my check was larger than normal, and I quickly learned about commission. I fell in love with it and started selling shoes at Macy’s in the women’s department because it was the only department that offered commission. Soon after, a friend referred me to Comcast, and I got a job in telecom sales, fully embracing the opportunity. Now, 17 years later, my career has progressed significantly.”

What do you like the most about the work we do here?

As a sales manager, I enjoy witnessing people grow and develop. In my role, I work closely with many salespeople who are relatively new to the job, and nothing is more satisfying than seeing the look on their faces when they receive the largest paycheck they’ve ever got. Observing someone learn a new strategy and progress in their career is a truly gratifying experience for me. Witnessing people flourish and achieve their goals motivates me to work at RealWork Labs.

At RealWork Labs, we are dedicated to providing opportunities for salespeople to succeed, and we remain adaptable to changing circumstances. Even during times of shifting in the tech industry, we offer people their first sales job and assist them in growing their sales careers.”

What’s different about RealWork Labs' culture from other places you’ve worked?

I have been in situations where there were creeds and values that were stated, but they weren’t demonstrated on a daily basis. I believe that your values do matter. If you come into this situation with an open mind, being willing to learn and absorb information, you can make a name for yourself. I have not seen anyone deserving of recognition not receive it at RealWork Labs. From top to bottom, I have never seen every employee be able to work so closely with CEOs. The leadership team actually wants to hear thoughts, feedback, and ideas from employees and implement them. There is no hierarchy, and no one is unreachable or intentionally distancing themselves.

The big thing about our culture is that every person who holds a position is approachable, and you can have a regular conversation with them. They go out of their way to ensure you know how valuable you are to the team. This makes working here easier for everyone, as we are taking care of the people who sit next to us and making them feel valued.”

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

Longevity. I’ve built a brand that has withstood numerous obstacles and fluctuations with multiple companies, even in times of rapid change. I started in sales before LinkedIn, when all you had was your name and someone to vouch for you. Now, I’ve reached a point where I have a resume and relationships with VPs and directors from various companies who support me.

What I’m most proud of is how I’ve matured as a person. I’ve learned a lot from top executives while still staying true to myself. While I haven’t been perfect, I’ve always been unapologetically myself, especially in corporate America. This says a lot about my character and the values instilled in me by my parents. My upbringing and past experiences have allowed me to embrace new opportunities with an open mind and to walk confidently in my own skin.

When I was eight, I attended a summer camp with kids from different backgrounds and nationalities. This experience exposed me to diverse perspectives and cultures, and as an inner-city kid, it was eye-opening. I learned to respect and appreciate everyone I met, regardless of their background. Despite the challenges in this world, I continue to stay true to these values, and I’m proud to walk through life with an open mind and respect for others.”

What’s one thing that surprised you about your current role?

This role has been an eye-opener for me in terms of the amount of responsibility it entails. While I thought I was ready to manage earlier in my career, this opportunity has shown me that now is the right time. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to handle the emotional toll, patience, and perspective needed to balance business objectives with individual conversations.

As a manager, I have to be able to listen attentively and transition quickly between individual and business needs. It’s a challenging balance, and I’m still learning every day. But being in this role is the only way to gain the necessary experience and prepare for future challenges. It’s a constant learning process, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to develop my skills this way.”

What’s a fact about yourself that you think would surprise others?

“I’m a hip-hop artist. I’ve been making music since my last year of high school; it’s my ultimate dream.

I was raised in a church and came up on hip-hop. My Mama was in church all day every day, and I mean on Tuesday, Thursday, and twice on Sunday. My pops was in the streets always hustling to make ends meet, so you could say I’m a mixture – so my music’s a mixture. I like to call it genreless; it’s like hip-hop, gospel, jazz, rap, and pop. I don’t like being put in a box, and neither does my music. I’m really a lyricist.

My wife is very supportive; I mean, it’s no pipe dream, and I make sure to put food on the table, but it’s great to have someone who believes in your big dream and wants it too. Go after the life you want.”

Describe your management style in three words.

“Discipline. Authenticity. Transparency. People follow what they see. They see discipline if they’re always seeing that I’m here when they get here. I’m focused, and they see I’m focused day in and day out and enforce that through my actions. It comes from walking with discipline. I bring it in with my style and don’t just talk about it; I’m committed to it. I haven’t always been like this, but it has to be a part of your management style, or you can’t mold the team you want. The team can go in any direction at any time without having practical discipline. 

For authenticity, people don’t follow the title; they follow the person. Respect comes from the person you are. You can give me a lot of things, but if you’re not authentic, I’m going to question everything you say. It’s so important because I want my team to be themselves. Being myself opens the door up for them to be themselves as well. 

Transparency, keep it real. At the end of the day, the tough convos are what some people run from. Sometimes I wish things were easy and we could all grab a beer, but I know I have to have these hard convos. In hindsight, my team is going to appreciate it. I also have to accept the necessity of these hard convos because I’ve committed to transparency. With transparency, you can have authenticity and discipline. Once you believe in transparency and see the results it creates – you never go back. 

Once someone tells you they’re glad you told them the hard truth, you never go back. People would rather you tell them straight. When you’re thinking about how they may take it, you get held back. I’m now having these conversations with confidence because I know that it hurts the people you’re around by not giving them feedback. Without telling people what they need to work on and correct, they may go their whole careers making the same mistakes. 

Another thing is that I have times where I could say I’m a senior and you don’t need to know my day, but there’s transparency in sharing my schedule and tasks with my team. It’s good for them to see what I’m up to – it’s really the little things. It also checks the box that I’m not on a high horse about things like my day. There’s a connection in transparency that comes full circle to authenticity. These three things create a happier environment for everyone in the workplace.”

How do you balance a family and managing a sales team?

As someone who believes in being grateful, I am confident that I will never be given more than I can handle. I make a conscious effort to focus on positive energy and appreciate the blessings in my life.

At work, I try to maintain a positive outlook and leave any negativity behind when I finish for the day. I have come to understand that my family should always be my top priority and that work cannot be an excuse to neglect them.

When I leave work, I try to let go of any work-related stress and give my all to my family. It can be overwhelming at times, but I remain grounded in gratitude and try not to put pressure on them about my work life. I have learned that I cannot justify being a provider and neglect my family, and putting them first has helped me leave work at work.

I know my role and have matured to the point where I don’t put anything before my family. This mindset has helped me manage everything else in life. I don’t try to live someone else’s life, but I shine my light in every area I can and let go of the need to control everything.”

How do you help your team achieve professional as well as personal goals?

I get to know my team. I think the more you can get to know your people, the more you can encourage them in their personal and professional lives and show them that they’re not just a number and you genuinely care about them. Once you open up to them and show that you truly want to hear about their lives, the more they show you their achievements, and you can encourage them to further their success. I get people from my team telling me they just bought their first car or are renting their first apartment – it’s exciting for them and me. 

How I push them to achieve their goals is the culture I create that leads to more success. I can show them that their goals are possible and simply say, “you can do it,” and remind them of the milestones they’ve already achieved. The relationship I build through their success allows them to be comfortable sharing their lives and dreams. 

Just genuinely caring about the people who work for you and work around you allows everyone to show respect, achieve their goals, and inspire each other.”

Interested in working on Lucien’s team? We’re seeking an experienced Account Executive (AE) to join our growing Sales organization. The ideal candidate should be a quick learner with strong communication skills and can showcase our offerings in a compelling way. The role involves using Salesforce, VanillaSoft, demo rotation, and email to generate and close sales opportunities, manage leads, and consistently meet revenue goals. 

Apply for this role below!