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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development

Exclusive Blog Posts

Don't Forget About Your Managers.

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WEBINAR RECORDING - Build Your Dealership's Budget for COVID-19 and Beyond

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A Leader Does Not Need to Take All of the Credit. It's Not All About You.

We have all worked with that one manager who thinks extremely highly of themselves. Making sure that you are not just aware of it, but that if you do not agree and or want to participate in spreading their fanfare, it will become a problem. In some cases even resulting in your getting fewer leads or showroom up's. That is not a leader. That is a lousy manager. A manager that if left to their own devices can single-handedly destroy a dealers morale causing the unnecessary turnover we struggle with.  If that does not get our attention than perhaps we have more significant issues at hand to discuss. With the demands of our customers evolving we cannot afford to revolve the way we approach leadership around the requirements of a bad sales manager. Instead, we have to focus on how to develop a leader, and how to build a relationship with a manager that has what it takes to be an effect leader on the dealer level.  

What Does A Leader Look Like? What is the Difference Between a Leader and a Manager? 

A leader wants to lead his team by working towards improving the way they approach customer service on the dealer level. Knowing that because they are not managing but leading their sales consultants or service advisors, they will inherently be more successful. As their efforts will pay off with the results showing in their sales numbers. This approach cannot work and will become a problem, however,  if the leader wants to take all of the credit for the results. But that is the mindset of a bad manager, not a leader. A bad manager spends their time knit picking at their sales consultants unknowingly working harder to prevent a team from forming unless of course, you are on their side, which yields its own damage to the dealer level. All of which can and will create a very hostile - walking on eggshell - environment that no one wants to work in. As taking all of the credit for your sales consultants efforts is not only destructive to your dealer's morale it can also affect their performance. Leaving themselves asking “is it me or am I just that bad of a sales consultant?” 

Why Do You Need to Take All of the Credit as A Manager? Leaders Do Not Need to Take All of the Credit from their Team. Your Teams Success Shows Your Value. 

This is not an easy question to have to answer, but it is an important one. There is an underlying reason as to why you feel the need to take all of the credit for the results. Or the notion that it is necessary for you to continue to parade around the dealership talking about how important or capable you are to the overall dealer's success. And how if you were to leave that the entire dealership would crumble. Albeit, this does take a lot of confidence to pull off. But that confidence does not always translate. Not to mention, this management style is often short-lived as they usually either get fired or quit as their sales team starts to crumble. In many cases, this bad manager is insecure and projects their own insecurities onto the sales team. They spend more time worrying about what their sales consultants think of them - wanting to be friends - versus being the leader they need to be in order to excel. 

Taking Credit From Your Sales Consultants is Destructive Behavior That Can Damage Your Dealers Morale. How to Avoid this Management Style. How to Be A Leader Without Taking All of the Credit. 

There is nothing wrong with your efforts being acknowledged once in a while. In fact, it is essential that your owner or GM appreciates all of the hard work that you have put into the dealership. However, when their need for appreciation and attention gets to the to the point of their wanting all of the credit for the dealer's success is when they become unhinged. This manager will go to great lengths to get rid of anyone that gets in his or her way. And because they are so entangled in their own need to be liked and appreciated they will easily let go of some of their key players. All because they do not feed into their ego. This is a bad manager. Not a leader. But this practice is commonplace in the auto industry. The other issue with this management style is that it discourages growth and development on the dealer level. Where your staff does not feel that they are able to learn or develop without walking on eggshells. Don’t be this Manager. Be a leader. 

A leader knows that if their team is successful, the results will follow. And a good GM or Owner will recognize that because of their efforts and hard work that is why they are successful. However, it is vital that the GM or Owner does not lose sight of what their leaders are doing on the dealer level. Wherein, a lot of the behavior - and this is not excusing it - might stem from the fact that the manager does not feel appreciated for their hard work. A simple thank you or great job can go along way. An even better means of showing your appreciation for your leader's efforts is to provide them with some much needed time off. Allowing them to recharge. 

Bottom Line: Not all Managers are bad. And not all leaders are great. The point is that it is best to ensure that your leader has a vision on the dealer level and is able to translate that vision in a meaningful way to their staff. Making sure that instead of taking all of the credit for the end result that it is more about what “we” accomplished as a dealership. Not what “I” did for the dealership. Understanding that a good GM or Owner will take notice and appreciate and compliment your leadership style without having to take all of the credit. Knowing that if you start to take all of the credit for the results, it can and will crush the morale at the dealer level. And no one wants to walk on egg-shells. 

Do you take all of the credit? Have you worked with a manager like this before? If so, how did you overcome it? 

Amanda Gordon

Loving this!!! Using words like "us, we, our" when speaking about your staff is a biggie. No one succeeds at this alone. 

Derrick Woolfson

@Amanda, exactly! People want to feel as if they are a part of the dealers overall success. But as soon as that manager starts to wreak havoc on the morale, your dealer can quickly turn into egg-shell city. No one wants to work in that environment. And enough with the excuse "well they are a good manager. We cannot lose them," which only enables them to continue to manage badly. 

Jason Volny

Great article @Derrick. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. "Victory has many fathers, where failure has none." Most managers don't know how to lead, they just repeat what the manager before them did. Most of them only know how to sell cars, and not how to lead. When they get on the desk, the develop "Menegertitus" (not an actual disease) They must be trained and mentored to be a great manager and a leader. Why don't GMs or Owners invest in their managers? Why do they expect them to figure out on the fly? Sink or swim doesn't work for salespeople, why would it work for managers? 

R. J. James

Derrick... GREAT topic! Unfortunately dealerships and many other businesses suffer from what I call, Promoting on Functional Excellence... Sales Consultants are promoted to Sales Manager or Service Advisors are promoted to Service Manager because they are GOOD at the FUNCTIONS of the job, even though they lack the People and Business Development skills they need to become successful Leaders.

Derrick Woolfson

@Jason, that is a great point. The GM's & Owners just *expect* it all to fall into place. And agreed, they become glued to their tower desk chair. Rarely getting involved in the day to day tasks. I mean when is the last time a GSM or Sales Manager picked up the phone to help make phone calls? 

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