It is not enough to be a manager anymore, you must be a Human Capital Leader. There is a huge misunderstanding in the automotive industry of what it means to be a sales manager. After all, it’s in the name. A manager must manage, sales. Right? Wrong. Managing sales is a small factor in the sales department’s success. Just like any successful business, the 5 key success factors are the strategic focus, people, operations, marketing, and finances. Most dealerships do a great job managing 4 out of 5 of these factors, however, we fail at managing people. That’s what we as managers need to focus on the most, managing and developing talent. We manage sales by developing others. Selling, branding, and marketing is done through our people.
As a manager, you’ve been given a lot of positional power. Meaning, you can tell others what to do. However, all too often we just bark off orders not realizing the damage we are causing. If you focus on becoming a leader instead of a manager, you’ll develop your a power that is based on expertise, loyalty, friendship, admiration, and desire to please and learn. Before you can become a leader, you must first gain a better understanding of what it means to LEAD. Think of it as an acronym.
L - stands for learning. Leaders value learning. They recognize that learning comes before leading. We must learn it first before we can teach it. Leaders must invest time and resources into their personal growth.
E- stands for engage. Leaders are always positive and engaged, even during challenging times. Leaders understand the importance of perception, and they guide results by displaying positive actions. I’ve been in the business long enough to experience a recession that hit our automotive industry hard. So hard that, sales dropped almost overnight, a lot of stores closed down, and a lot of good people lost their jobs. However, a true leader keeps their head up no matter what’s going on because they realize the impact it will make on the rest of the team.
A- stands for act. Leaders understand that learning is not only about knowledge, but it’s also about action. Leaders apply what they’ve learned to deliver the desired results. I see so many managers go to events, so excited about what they’ve learned, only to come back to their stores and do nothing about it.
D-stands for develop. Leaders understand that growth comes from the development of others. Human capital value is derived from the deployment of well-developed competencies in processes, skills, product knowledge, and temperament. Leaders dedicate 80% of their efforts on developing others and only 20% on managing them. As I have mentioned before, most of the managers in the industry right now focus on 95% on managing processes and only 5% on developing people.
Bottom line, being a leader involves learning for yourself, engaging your team, taking action and developing talent. Long term solution is respect, but you must earn it.