What qualities does it take to be a good leader? Do you look at leadership as being the work of dealer principals, general managers and department managers? If you believe that your leaders are just your managers, think again.
Every employee that we have has a responsibility to practice leadership. Leaders are people who model positive behavior, take charge, are effective problem-solvers and are committed to great job performance. Good leaders communicate clearly with others and share the knowledge they have with others when called for.
In talking with powersport dealers today, I observe a widespread lack of mentoring for leadership skills. In these economic times you, the dealer principal or manager, have to cut back on everything from payroll to what you’re putting on your shelves. You can’t have waste; it costs too much. You are wasting your employees if you are not helping them become good leaders.
The greatest resource we all have for growth is our employees. They are the face of your dealership. How they lead – or don’t – can bring a customer back to the store, or leave them mumbling, “I’ll never go back there again.” When a customer asks for a product location, does your employee point and say, “It’s over there,” or do they take charge? Do they introduce themselves, ask the customer’s name, take them where they need to go, explain the product and thank them for their purchase?
This may sound like simple sales training, but it’s more than that. You must be the person you want your employees to become. Leadership is an underlying attitude that is modeled from the top down. Mentoring leadership skills is the most cost-effective way that you can keep the customers that you already have coming back. We sometimes forget that it all truly starts at the top. and that means you.
If we wish to inspire trust and loyalty in our customers, we must inspire trust and loyalty in our employees. If we want our customers to have confidence in our dealership, our employees must have confidence in us. Your employees will put in their time every day no matter what, but how they spend that time is up to you.
The best expression of leadership is to lead by example. Every day, focus on what you love about powersports. In doing so, you will naturally engage, inspire and motivate your employees. Practice optimism, and watch the results!
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams