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3 Management Tips Every Dealership Leader Should Know

Confident mid adult businessman standing in front of his team with hands on hips and looking at camera.

Finding good dealership employees can be tough.

Once you find them, the last thing you want to do is lose them.

According to Tiny Pulse, a leading employee engagement survey company, the number-one reason people leave a job is poor management performance.

This can be tough to hear if you’re in management. The good news is, these three strategies are proven to improve your team’s management skills and will go a long way in improving employee retention.

Communicate the Purpose

Unless you’re in the Armed Forces, most people expect an explanation before blindly following orders. This is especially true for employees in your dealership.

As managers come and go, processes change, and training material doesn’t get updated, it’s easy to lose the connection with why things are done a certain way.

There’s a parable in Psychology Today that illustrates this principle well.

One day, a young girl came home from school to find her mother cutting the ends off of a pot roast before placing it in the oven. When she questioned the reason for discarding the ends, her mother replied, “That’s just how my mother always did it. Why don’t you ask her why?”

So, the young girl phoned her grandmother and posed the same question. Her grandmother replied with a similar response.

“It’s the way my mother made pot roast growing up,” the grandmother said.

Determined to get to the bottom of the pot roast mystery, the young girl called her great grandmother.

This time, she received a different response. Her great grandmother revealed that she once had a very small oven, and the meat wouldn’t fit unless she cut off the ends.

While the topic of this article is dealership management, not Sunday roast, it goes to show that people can be suspicious of following directions without reason. To combat this, always communicate the purpose of any directive, process, or rule.

And if you don’t know, make sure to find out. You may be throwing out a perfectly good cut of roast yourself!

Highlight What You Want to See

You’ve probably heard this quote by Dale Carnegie: “Once I did bad, and that I heard ever. Twice I did good, but that I heard never.”

It’s human nature to make a big deal out of something going wrong. While you should definitely correct mistakes, an even more effective strategy is to highlight success.

Recognizing victories goes beyond applauding the highest seller for the month. Publicly reward employees who stay late, get outstanding customer reviews, come up with new ideas, or take it upon themselves to clean the breakroom.

The point is, you should praise any behavior you want to see more of. And by doing it publicly, you’re letting your entire employee base see what they need to do to earn that same recognition.

Involve Employees in Decision-Making

Employees can’t weigh in on every decision dealership leadership makes. That’s just the truth of it.

There are times, however, when you can have your staff contribute to decisions that affect them. This is also an excellent way to harvest new ideas and viewpoints.

Let’s imagine you’re planning your next customer appreciation event. Consider bringing it up during a sales meeting and asking employees to weigh in on the event’s theme.

It’s a good idea to start the discussion with questions that lead employees in the direction you have in mind. Many times, you may find that the answers you get are similar to what you were already thinking. The difference is that people are more likely to accept an idea when they feel it’s their own. Plus, you’re likely to get a new spin on the event that your management team may not have considered.

Stay Strong in Your Values

When used appropriately, these strategies can improve the working environment in any dealership, making life easier for managers and employees alike.

For more tips on automotive dealership marketing, management, and news, make sure to subscribe to Next Day Traffic.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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