Auto Service World
Feature   August 1, 2001   by Bob Greenwood

Your Management Style Can Dictate the Level of Your Success

Shop owners/managers today have many challenges in front of them, however, their approach and "style" of management can make the difference from a "great place to work" versus "just a place to work", ...

Shop owners/managers today have many challenges in front of them, however, their approach and “style” of management can make the difference from a “great place to work” versus “just a place to work”, from a “buy yourself a job” shop to “what a great career” shop.

Consider your management style and what you are attracting in terms of “quality” of personnel to work with you. The following comparisons between a “stuffy/boring” style versus a “cool/interesting” style, I trust, will give you food for thought.

Stuffy – I want to acquire another shop at some point so I can capture market share.

Cool – I want to acquire another shop to create/test our innovations and challenge our limits.

Stuffy – We always “suck up to” our biggest customers at all times.

Cool – We love to “partner” with cool clients and have a respectful, trustworthy relationship.

Stuffy – Our shop deals with many jobbers in the area so we can count on the best price.

Cool – Our shop values its time and seeks out one jobber that brings true value to help our business to progress to be the best it can be.

Stuffy – The decisions and the “buck” starts and stops here……..with me !!

Cool – We hire and thoroughly train competent people, and our people are capable of making the right decisions for our shop.

Stuffy – We run our business as a typical garage like that which has always run within this industry for the past 20 years, because that is just the way it is. All that new stuff is “smoke and mirrors”. I always know what has to be done.

Cool – We like “out of the box” thinking. We know that in order to attract, and keep, the very best customer/clients in the marketplace, we must be distinctly different and constantly innovate.

Stuffy – We have an opening, so we hire a mechanic looking for a job.

Cool – We attract the best because we have a reputation as being the best. We are very proud of our technical team and their capabilities, and they are proud to be part of this business.

Stuffy – My staff get a raise when they have “paid their dues”.

Cool – You get a raise now if the work is high quality, timely, and total client satisfaction is achieved. Welcome to the team, this is your business too.

Stuffy – I as owner/manager will always be seen as acting only one way, and bland.

Cool – It is my policy to have a great relationship of respect and understanding with our staff, stay loose and stay cool. There is no need for the ‘boardroom boring/snob” attitude in our place of business. We constantly communicate clearly with one another, and have fun while we work; after all, this is our home away from home.

I’m sure by now one can get a picture of these two different type of shops. Today’s challenges require a team effort in the shop. To achieve that, one must realize that the people under the roof of the shop are the most important assets in a successful business.

Consider this: “You can buy a man’s time; you can buy his physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of his skilled muscular motions per hour. But, you can not buy enthusiasm…you can not buy initiative…you can not buy loyalty…you can not buy devotion of hearts or minds. You must EARN these.”

As you are getting ready to gear up for the fall business, consider the level of enthusiasm in your shop right now. Is there room for improvement? Is the lack of enthusiasm/initiative possibly due to the owner/managers style of conducting the day to day affairs? Lighten up, and communicate with your people, as I’m sure they would love to be part of the business, not an outsider just doing a job.

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