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Empowering staff to become their own problem-solvers leads to good culture and profitability

Editor’s note: This is part four of a four-part series by Dave Schedin, of CompuTrek Automotive Coaching & Training, who has more than 40 years in the automotive field and has coached shops to higher profitability since 2006.

In the Bankable Me part one, two and three columns, we reviewed how to Be A Better Bankable YOU to raise your personal individual results. In this installment, we will cover what a “bankable leader” looks like when leading your team to greater results from a “commitment style” of leadership versus “command style.”

Dave Schedin

Defining the difference:

Commitment: “The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”

Command: “To give an authoritative order. Dominate (a strategic position) from a superior height. The ability to use or control something.”

If you were an employee, how would you like to be led — as a dedicated employee with personal job responsibility OR be controlled and managed?

When leading by commitment, you are choosing a far less stressful leadership approach as it is directly linked to the internal self-motivation of the one you are leading. All that’s required of you as a leader is to tap into their motivation and draw out the commitment and integrity that already exists in them. It takes work, understanding, and coaching your employees well, but most of all, courage as you challenge a person’s core integrity and commitment versus the undesired results.

Conversely, leading by command creates a stressful, controlling enforcement-type atmosphere resulting in compliance which, ultimately, removes choice. This rarely sits well with any individual because it lowers their value and morale. Choosing to lead with command aligns itself with “compliance” (doing “just enough” to not get fired or reprimanded). It often ends in loss of personnel or low job satisfaction and lower bankable results.

Managers not using the commitment leadership style reap very low results and become frustrated — often stepping into elevated commands of yelling, nagging and belittling, just hoping something will motivate their employees. It’s counterproductive. They view their people as objects, and expect their staff to have high-levels of job excitement and commitment toward what you want done — which begs the question, would you?

Leading by “commitment” requires effective communication to achieve employee buy-in. Once your expectations are shared, and your levels of quality and completion times are agreed upon, you can then ask for the commitment to produce those agreed upon goals.

When a commitment result is not produced, then your focus should be on your employee’s ability to keep their commitments — not their inability to produce a desired result. If an employee misses the mark and their goal, ask them to problem-solve the situation. What can be done differently? What processes can be improved? You just have to ask the questions and empower them to troubleshoot their own solutions. It’s a win-win AND it’s a lot more empowering for the employee.

A command-based leader could have yelled at them or given them a better mouse trap, but it’s not until we give our team members the opportunity to self-analyze their thinking that you will ever have sustainable results to grow your bank account.

Keep in mind that when the majority of your leadership is commitment-focused, you will occasionally need to use command to lead staff, however, your people will be committed to the command now as well because it will feel more balanced and sustainable to them.

Here’s an example of what I often hear:

“But Coach Dave, the customer is coming down in an hour for their vehicle and I need results now!”

It can be as easy as: “Hey Bill, we all need to pitch in and do what it takes to get this vehicle done before Mr. Jones get here in an hour. I need you to do ‘this’ and Tom will be doing ‘that’ to make this happen. I like how you create solutions so let’s connect at 5:30 tonight and see what can be put in place to prevent this scenario from happening again in the future.”

Having your “growth” conversations outside of the event is the key. The focus is on the “scenario” and not their effort.

Leadership begins at the top with you taking a little extra time, investment, and courage to understand what you need to do to be a more bankable you. Set the context for your team to excel. Investing in an automotive business system by itself can only take you so far, so be sure to find a coach that has the skills to add leadership and personal development training to maximize results. And, invest in your employees. Respect encourages respect and a healthy, productive — and profitable — workplace and business.

Mindsets can be a powerful thing.

Next article series: Onboarding and leading by using commitment-based tools

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Dave Schedin can be reached at 800-385-0724, dave@computreksystems.com, and www.computreksystems.com. He offers a complimentary 30-minute discussion.

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