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WOW! The video below is a sad but somewhat familiar occurrence in the auto industry. It's video of a real sales meeting where the manager is insulting his people into motivation. He tells his people they suck, failure is their fault and that he, the manager, refuses to be part of the problem.
Unknown to the manager, one of the sales people whips out his phone and records the incident, then posts it to YouTube for all to see. No doubt we will write about the social media implications to the dealership's brand, but for now I want to talk about the huge gap in management skills that are demonstrated in the video.
What do you expect?
We have all been in meetings similar to this. Most of us promised that when we became managers we would do a better job. Sadly, without being taught the skills of proper management many in the industry become a product of the environment and poor management perpetuates itself.
I will be the first to say a manager's job is to hold his/her team accountable. However, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. By chewing the team in such a fashion without offering any solutions the manager becomes a problem creator, not a problem solver. This is simply bad form that produces bad results. Would you work harder for your managers if they treated you like this?
Understanding Managements Power:
There are three types of power a manager can have: (adapted from Steven R Covey)
Coercive Power- This power comes as a result of fear in the subordinate. Because the employee has fear of a consequence, he or she will acts in a certain way to avoid the punishment. Managers often fall back to Coercive power because it is easy to exercise and requires no skill. All one needs to exercise Coercive Power is authority from a title. Sadly, this management style often reveals character flaws in the leader, causing the team to lose more respect, starting a downward spiral. Think of some of the great dictators in history and you will find extreme examples of coercive power.
Greatness is never achieved through Coercive Power because the subordinates never strive to do great things; they simply try to stay out of trouble. Coercive power is not the way to build a lasting team of greatness.
Utility Power- This power stems from the exchange of goods. The followers have what the leaders want, like a sales person's time and talent. The leader has something the follower wants, like commissions. A deal is reached and the parties exchange goods in defined roles. "You sell cars for me, follow my rules, and Ill give you commissions" as an example. The relationship is mechanical but usually fair. Regardless, it lacks heart.
Motivation based on utility power is better than coercive power because at least both parties are willing to participate. However, Utility Power is still not the optimal form of motivation.
Legitimate Power-this comes when the follower believes in the cause of the leader and trusts the leader can take the follower in the right direction. Legitimate power will not come from a title, but is earned through service and performance by a leader who honors his or her team, works to serve the greater good and produces results. When your team believes in your cause, and your managers have legitimate power, your team will be transformed to a whole new level.
Sadly the manager in the video displayed no vision, had no connection with his team and only relied only on coercive power to try and destroy his team into motivation. I sincerely hope he is a better manager than the video showed. There was no building of greatness in this sales meeting, only destruction of the team.
What could this manager have done different?
1. First, he should have separated out those who did perform from those who didn't. There is no need to rip your best performers for something they are not a part of.
2. This was nothing more than an emotional rant. Managers need to stay composed and in control so to avoid mistakes, especially during serious discussions around poor performance. If you can't control your emotions don't try and lead your team when you are angry, you are likely to do more damage than good.
3. The manager 100% separated himself from his team, blaming them for everything while washing his hands of any wrongdoing. He showed no loyalty to the team and they have no reason to return any loyalty. This manager should have diagnosed the problems, said we've got our work to do and together we are going to get items A, B &C done! You are more likely to dig yourself out of a ditch if you are working together.
4. He offered no evidence of his claims. When you are trying to win the team over always offer evidence, especially when you are being negative people are going to be slow to take what you say at face value.
5. He should have acknowledged management's failures and outlined the solutions to fix them. If the team sucks, they didn't get the training they needed. If the sales people are not capable of success they should have been let them go. Ultimately managers need to manage, there was no management taking place in the meeting.
6. The biggest task in being a successful manager is to be a problem solver. The manager offered only complaints, no corrective direction or advice. This manager should have had solutions prepared to offer the team a path to success and to lead them out of trouble.
What else can we learn from this post? What would you have done differently?