As the world is rapidly advancing in technology and organizations are changing to become flatter, leaner, more efficient and more profitable it is critical for leaders and managers to keep their skills relevant to the world. In particular, outside sales managers once thought if they were outstanding performers as a sales person the next logical promotion would be to an outside sales manager. Therefore, it is vital to the success of an organization and the human capital in the organization, that leaders, in particular outside sales managers, have the necessary skills or competencies to be successful. The purpose of this study was to explore the critical competencies needed for successful outside sales managers. The perspective of expert panelists was used in a three round Delphi study. Eighteen expert panelists looked at a comprehensive list of 172 competencies and then ranked them using a 5-point Likert scale, where 1=least important and 5=most important. Fourteen competencies arose as critical for outside sales mangers. They are: a) managing and measuring work; b) initiative; c) determination; d) drive for results; e) clarifies expectations; f) develops others; g) builds effective teams; h) inspires and motivates others; i) manages diversity; j) depth of understanding others; k) displays high integrity and honesty; l) trust; m) ethics and values; and n) customer focus. The findings of this research can be used by organizations in making a competency model. Competencies, such as the fourteen identified in this research have been recognized as critical to the success of an outside sales manager. This competency model is referred to as The Duet Leadership Competency Model.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Leadership; Management; Sales management; Core competencies; Soft skills

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;