Basically there are 2 management styles.
The first being no socializing with staff outside of work and only talk business with employees etc..
The second one is how I manage.
I socialize with my staff, I know their wants, desires, heartbreaks, I get to know there past, what makes them tick and even will have party's, cookouts at my house etc and make sure all are invited.
I have managed this way for years and have always been successful in all the showrooms I have ran. The current store is a pre-owned lot that is part of a larger dealer group in a smaller rural area. The store was averaging 30-35 cars per month with decent gross. I took over the store January 24th 2011. From February on we have done at least 62 cars per month every month and no less than 153k in gross after charge-backs etc. July we finished up with 68 units and 223k in gross profit. This with me on desk and a finance manager working a nice normal 5 day work week.
I know my staff inside and out, what makes each person tick, how their home life is, their concerns, needs etc. and they respond to whatever we need as a company. I have earned their respect and they have earned mine. We are like an extended family and we are all selling cars having fun and making money.
My question to everyone is, which style do you think builds a better team? I am being told that my style is not the right one, but really got no concrete evidence or reason as to why. Please discuss freely!
I think size does matter, where you are at and where you intend to go. A better choice for me over the years has been to put the entity's interest above all else. I believe an organization's growth depends on each individuals ability to adapt to the needs of the entity as opposed to the entity adapting to the needs of each unique individual. Supporting and maintaining the health of the entity is key to its ability to compete and thereby continue to compensate employees and stockholders. When the oxygen masks drop we are taught to place the masks over our mouths first. Understanding the wants, desires and heartbreaks of employees in general is key to writing good policy and establishing the culture for the entity. Once written, it does not mean it can not be tweaked or changed to accommodate the needs of employees in general if it also serves the best interest of the entity. The attraction for me to this "style" is it allows every person to make contributions equally. As an employee myself, I like the security of knowing that the entity that I work for does not have a bias for or against my personal interests. I am allowed to make contributions without fear that I will be judged outside the scope of my professional performance. I enjoyed Joe Nameth's contributions to the game of football. I am not so sure I would have enjoyed him as much if I thought he really liked wearing pantyhose. Some things are best left in the locker room.
I am glad I wandered into this discussion, even if I am late to the game.
I did training the last 2 weeks in a big group, 17 stores, and one of the first things I heard when I arrived from the airport at the dealership that serves as HQ to pick up my demo, was a manager telling me how many units they had done and how much gross they had generated the previous month, and how they still all got chewed out. "What was the expectation?" I asked. "More units and more gross", was the reply. "What did you all identify as the missing ingredient in the desired outcome?" I responded. "That never came up." That's a shame.
I spent a lot of time in those stores over two weeks; working the desk, the floor and taking turns in F&I. 3 days a week I had sales managers and finance managers in a conference room off site, supposedly training on process. What the training evolved into was skills, because it takes skills to drive the people and the people drive the process. If we don't have the skills to manage, train and motivate our people, we aren't ready to work on the process.
How many dealers have provided their managers with training that develops the skills that it takes to manage? Assuming that we can all agree that promoting the best sales person to a manager didn't automatically give them the skills that they need to perform that position. Selling requires a different skill-set than managing, and if your wondering why your sales manager doesn't have that skill set, look at their role model; the manager that is no longer with the firm, usually for cause.
If we have a sales person, or any employee, that is struggling and the only way we have to deal with them is to kick their teeth down their throats, shame on us. We don't have to do that, they are getting that at home because they are working all these retail hours and not making any money. We need to have the ability to dissect the process, find where the failure is, and identify the skill that is missing and keeping our people from being successful, and then train on that skill. To do that, by the way, we have possess a working knowledge of the process and the skills that drive it. That is where our sales skills come in; being able to instill that and install that in our sales person is where our management skills come in. Also, if one of my people needs a skill that they do not possess, I own that; sales people are my internal customer.
The best managers do several things, my favorite of which is:
1. Daily one-on-ones at their sales person desks, asking about what is going on in the sales person's life, making sure that they have left their trash at the curb, finding out what kind of day they have planned and what they need from the manager to be successful. It needs to be positive, it needs to be equally focused on what the salesperson has going on personally and professionally, but even that specifically as it applies to how the dealership is going to operate. I have, gently, sent sales people who have drama in their lives home to handle it. It says first that I care about their problems, and it also says that I would rather handle a customer myself than have a sales person with a screwed-up head handling them poorly, and wasting an opportunity for the dealership to help a customer solve their transportation needs. Translated, "You need to get your house in order, I am willing to do this without you if you make me." Notice, the geography is critical; I do these meetings everyday at the sales persons desk; it is a sign of respect. If I want my customers to be treated with respect and dignity, that is how I have to treat my sales people.
Also, a management principle I learned from my dad who was a pastor as well as owning several very successful businesses; if I ever took an employee into my office everyone knew that something bad was going to happen. Consequential to my focus on treating my employees the way I wanted them to treat our customers, in the last 3 years in my last dealership as a manager I only had to bring an employee into my office 3 times. I had little turnover because my employees knew that I cared about them; specifically their development as quality people first, and quality employees second.
My mantra as a manager is, "I am training my replacements". I wanted my people to see the things that I did throughout the day as instruction, not just activity. I let them see me fail when taking a turn on a customer, so they knew it was okay to fail as long as they tried. And if we did fail to help a customer purchase our car, there was no blame, no finger-pointing. I talked to them about the customers we were trying to find a way to sell, deals we were trying to close. I asked, "What do you think?" "What would you have done?" "What would you do if you were me?" That invested them in my success and growth, an equal amount to which I invested in theirs. That became the culture; we are all in this together. That culture bred some great managers who are still following that example today.
Our people have to be inspired, but they also have to be instructed. The best way to motivate your people is to equip them.
Holy cow, I could go on and on. Great topic. I hope you get much more insight and participation.