Leadership is a dynamic activity. It’s never constant because everything around the leader – the dealership, the RV market, the customers, and the employees – is always changing. In other words, a good manager is never “done.” As the RV world changes, so must we to stay at the top of our game.
Despite all the self-help written on the topic of management, most managers aren’t very good. That’s not just our opinion. Gallup has gone on record as stating that nearly 90 percent of managers don’t have the talent to manage. Yikes. There are several reasons for this:
Unfortunately, these organizational flaws set a vicious cycle in place, whereby weak managers become the role models for other up-and-coming managers. How can your dealership break that cycle?
Developing Fabulous Leaders in Five Steps
Gallup’s data doesn’t have to be your dealership’s destiny. Here are five steps to developing fabulous leaders!
Step 1: Hire The Best Talent For The Job
Deciding who comes into your dealership is one of the most important decisions you can make, so effective hiring processes are key. Checks and balances within the employee selection process will assist in hiring the best fit for your culture. Lacking in this area can have the opposite effect. Sure, once in a while, an organization will get lucky and hire someone great without even trying (and on the flip side, a poor fit will sneak in), but by and large, a good process yields good results.
Tips for effective hiring include:
Step 2: Get To Know Your Staff
Creating a developmental plan for your employees only comes with knowing your people, so get to know them! What are their strengths? What are their blind spots? What keeps them up at night? What motivates them? What are their career goals? How do they handle change and conflict? How do they like to be managed? When you know the answers to these questions, figuring out who needs what to succeed becomes much easier.
Step 3: Resolve To Invest Time In Your Team
Investing time in your staff is essential. Whether they initiate informal check-in times or whether you agree to meet at regular intervals each week or month, make sure you’re giving your staff the attention they need to feel supported and connected. Time is also needed to give – and receive – feedback properly.
Step 4: Just Do It!
Leadership development is a multi-pronged activity that includes formal education (i.e., training), coaching, mentoring, and regular feedback that’s honest, timely, and actionable. Schedule regular training and give and receive honest feedback, a normal part of your dealership’s culture.
To get the most of your efforts, tailor developmental needs to the individual manager. For instance, there’s no reason to send a group email or call for a group meeting to discuss one employee's transgressions, especially when everyone knows who that email or meeting was really about. Not only does this tactic annoy everyone else, but it also keeps the employee who needs this information the most from getting it.
By the way, any leader who demonstrates a clear resistance to being coached or otherwise instructed should be let go without hesitation. Your organization needs leaders who are willing to grow.
Step 5: Don't Be Afraid to Get Help
Developing fabulous leaders is a company-wide effort and the responsibility of more than just the leader’s leader. HR should be right there with you, as should the most senior level of management. Get their input as well as their support as often as you need it.
Many organizations fail at developing leaders because it’s hard, and it takes time, energy, and effort some believe would be better spent elsewhere. Add to that the common but mistaken belief that good management is a “natural” byproduct of born characteristics and common sense. It’s not hard to understand why 90 percent of leaders can’t optimally do the job. However, your dealership can beat those odds by taking steps to make your development efforts stick.