What kind of manager are you?


Just about everyone has a story about managers who guided them and did a great job, and those that made life a living hell. Of course, everyone prefers to be the former and not the latter, but being a good manager always involves being a friend and being the boss. The right combination of the two will help you be the person your employees talk about in a glowing light.

The Good: Providing Guidance
Even people who arrive at your dealership with considerable experience under their belts will need time and guidance to figure everything out. A good manager provides a road map not just at the beginning, but beyond until everyone is familiar with how things are done and what is expected of that person. Rather than just say, “Ask anyone if you have any questions,” check in regularly and also assign people to stop by every so often to say, “Is all going well? Anything I can do to help?”

Guidance also shouldn’t end after a set period. There are always minor changes made to programs and offers, as well as the larger issues of how sales are changing through online marketplaces and consumer preferences. Some people may be reluctant to ask for help because they think they’re supposed to know how it’s done. Good managers know that it’s never a “dumb question” if you don’t know the answer.

The Bad: Micro-Managing
There can come a point where guidance crosses into intrusion, and it’s important to realize when to step back. Not everyone will do a task the same way you would do it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing it the wrong way. In addition to the process, look at the end result. If everything’s done correctly, if the paper trail lines up, and if the job’s done in a reasonable amount of time, then let it go. Better yet, have a look at how they’re doing it. Someone might have found a better way, and you would do well to adopt that method.

The other major issue with micro-managing is that it’s extremely time-consuming. If you’re doing everyone else’s job, when do you have a chance to do your own? Things are going to be pushed to the back burner and pile up until it’s impossible to find the time to clear it all out. A good manager delegates tasks to the right people, and then gives them the opportunity to get them done.

The Good: Appreciating Your Employees
There are some managers who feel that handing out the pay stubs is sufficient to let people know that they’re doing a good job, but those on the receiving end seldom feel that way. Others may feel it’s enough to say “good job” at an annual evaluation, but there should be more feedback than that. There’s no need to make a fuss for everything that’s done properly, but an occasional pat on the back goes a long way.

The Bad: Being Too Good of a Friend
Humans being humans, there are always some people you will like better than others, but overt favouritism is bad for your business overall. It can create resentment among other employees, and in turn affect how they interact with your favourite person.

The Good: Keeping an Eye on the Temperature
Everyone has “down” days, and if you notice someone in the dumps, quietly ask if there’s anything wrong and if you can help. But there can also be a lull across departments or even the whole dealership, and you should be watching for changes in the overall mood. It could be an irritating customer, office gossip, or whatever, and you might not be able to find out exactly what it is. But you should be aware of it, and keep an eye on things to make sure it passes quickly – and to get to the bottom of it if it doesn’t.

The Bad: Creating the Temperature
The boss can often be the thermostat for the dealership, so be aware of how you’re setting it. If you’re in a foul mood, that will carry over to the staff and eventually to the customers. Everyone has bad days, but do your best to prevent one from spilling out and affecting your department and the store.

Some Final Thoughts…

  • When there are issues between employees, don’t be the “hanging judge” who rules in favour of the first person to come to you. Get all sides of the story before you try to make any decisions.
  • Do what needs to be done. You may be the boss, but if you’re in front of a task that needs immediate attention, do it – answering the phone, guiding (never just pointing) a customer toward a department or washroom, picking up a left-behind coffee cup. If everyone else sees you doing it, they will too, and your store will run more smoothly for it.