Your best technician forgot to put oil in a vehicle they were working on. That car’s engine blew just after it left the shop. How do you react?
Rick White, founder and president of 180Biz, knows what he would want to do.
“I want to scream. I want to go out there and give him what-for. What was he thinking?” White told attendees of his session Trust is the Real Currency at the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo 2023.
“’We’re booked out three weeks. We got more work than we know what to do with. You know how much that engine is going to cost? Are you out of your mind? What are you doing?’” he gave as examples of things he’d be screaming at the tech.
But just because you want to say those things, that doesn’t mean you should. Take a step back and breathe for a moment. Then consider: How do you think your tech is feeling?
“He’s feeling horrible, would you agree? I mean, he’s going to look up to see the top of the curb. Does he really need me going out there and doing that to him?” White said.
You’re reacting to the issue and bringing on conflict. You want to confront the problem instead.
“What we want to be able to do is separate the person from the behaviour. And we’re going to attack the behaviour and we’re going to love the person,” White explained.
If you attack the person, that’s conflict. What do you think the reaction is going to be? White said it would be one of three things: Fight, flight or freeze. And who’s going to feel good after it’s all over? Just you. And even that’s a maybe.
“Now, in that process, did I push the tech away? Or did I bring them in closer?” White asked. “I pushed him away. He is less engaged with our business now than he was before.”
So think about your approach before you go out there.
“The first thing I’m going to do is get him to understand that he’s a good tech,” White advised. “We’re not going to let one event define how he sees himself. We are all bigger than one event.”
Did something happen that led to the tech forgetting that crucial step? Maybe he got interrupted by someone and that’s why he missed putting oil in the car. That’s a teachable moment to the team to not interrupt someone while they’re working on something, White said.
“Confronting behaviour is something you want to do immediately and without reserve,” he added.