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Jared Hamilton
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Jared Hamilton

Jared Hamilton Founder - CEO

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This week, the focus of our class was on leadership. On Monday, we started off watching a video of a gentleman who was being interviewed on some live TV show.  The interview quickly turned into an attack session by the interviewer completly catching this poor guy off guard. We were led in discussion to evaluate how the situation was handled, leading us into the topic about how leaders handle unusual, awkward, and sometimes heated, environments. How leaders keep their cool in these types of situations directly creates and reflects the reputation of the organization.
 
The lesson I gathered from this class is the necessity to determine who we are dealing with in confrontational situations. Is it a customer? An employee? The media? Differentiating between and understanding who we are communicating with helps us to frame the conversation more appropriately and identify the objectives we want to get out of the conversation when we’re done. 
 
Not every situation can be handled identically, and they shouldn’t be. However, every situation that comes into your store, whether good or bad, can be turned into an opportunity for success if you approach it in the right way. Stepping back to evaluate what the situation is and what the ultimate goal looks like is essential in a leader’s approach to resolving conflicts, while also keeping the integrity of the store and its employees.
 

The second part of Monday’s class, while still emphasizing leadership, focused on the stages of leadership.  Leadership styles scope an entire spectrum, beginning with unconscious incompetence and moving toward unconscious competence.  In other words, it ranges from not being aware of your weaknesses, to understanding your weaknesses, to if you think about it you can over come your weaknesses and finally arriving and growing past your weaknesses until the strentghs become who you are.  In the end you don’t want to have to think about being a great leader, you just want to naturally be one.  You actively make good decisions and do the right things more from muscle memory as opposed to consciously analyzing every move you make and how people might respond to you. 

 

You can’t fake being a good leader.  You can fake being a good manager.  Managers can make good decisions and be detail-oriented to accomplish store goals, but to be a true leader, you have to have the right motivations.  You have to be there for the right reasons.  A leader pours their heart and soul into their role.  You can be a good manager and get the job done, but a leader makes people stand up and follow you without even realizing it.  One of my favorite leadership quotes, by Lao Tzu, states, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, where his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

 

Someone in class said "Managers do things right while leaders do the right things."  Dont know which classmate or professer said it, but it rang for me.  

 

A leader inspires people to reach their potential and accomplish personal and collective goals.  Who inspires you? 

Tom White Jr.
Managers push paper around and look for a reason NOT to get involved in interactions with customers. Leaders want to get in front of the customer and lead from the front. Managers "manage" the process while Leaders "drive" the process. Managers are concerned about their standing and don't want "the bus run over them." Leaders crave the opportunity for responsibility and don't care if they step on peoples' toes. Managers are paid a percent of the Gross and work their pay-plans. Leaders are paid a percent of the Net and realize that the Dealer has to make money for them to make money. Managers are easily replaced. Leaders are few and far betwween, and as such, have the most job security of anyone in the organization. Managers are easily trained. Leaders take a lifetime to develop, and once you are fortunate enough to have one, you should spend whatever it takes to keep one. My two cents as always...
Mike Whitty
I'm a big fan of management, and love being in managerial positions. I feel that a manager is a special person and is responsible for not only the task-oriented aspects of the job, but also the people-oriented ones. As author of the book, "The Ultimate Automotive Manager", I was interviewed by Dealer Magazine regarding management and leadership, which you can read in my blog, and you'll be able to get a sense of how I feel about today's dealership manager. To comment on the first part of your post, handling confrontational situations is an art that needs to be studied and practiced. When I was a dealership manager, I used to love handling problem customers. I would tell all departments if they had a situation they didn't want to handle to call me. It takes a good closer to listen to their problem, come up with a suitable solution, and leave them feeling good about the experience. The second part of your post deals with mangement vs leadership. The first job of any good manager is to take ordinary people and make them outstanding employees. To watch an employee grow because of something you did or said is one of the greatest gifts any manager can get. The high turnover rate in our sales departments isn't always do to poor salespeople, but also because managers do not provide the motivation, tools and training necessary for them to become successful. I tell managers if you're going to fire someone, the first question you need to ask yourself is, "did I give 100% of my time and effort into helping make this person successful?" If you can say no to that, then you need to look at yourself first as to why this person didn't succeed. I'm sure others will comment on your excellent post, so I'll leave it at that.

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