A common concern shared in the car business is “Where are all of the good people?” There is a shortage of talent, and an even bigger shortage in up and coming leaders, which is requiring dealers to focus more than ever on people development and investing in culture.
The norm in the car business is hiring or promoting an individual into management and assuming they automatically have the skill set it takes to lead. However, the reality is managers are faking it hoping they will make it, creating a revolving door of underperformance costing dealers gazillions of dollars. Equally bad managers are attempting to lead without developing self-awareness and an understanding of what motivates people. In today’s world, we need to rely on more than just the fact that an individual might be a “natural born leader.” In addition to natural ability, it takes commitment and work to develop the flexibility required to respond to a diversity of needs and adapt to the technological and cultural challenges of the future.
Many people lump managers and leaders into the same category. Yes, managers are in a position of leadership, but a title and a position of authority do not mean a person has what it takes to motivate and inspire their team to work together for a common goal. Developing managers into leaders is a critical component to ensuring organizations have what it takes to sustain into the future. We must first understand the difference between management and leadership to then identify the steps to develop managers into leaders, or perhaps realize that some managers are meant to only be managers.
Management is the attempted control of the thoughts, actions, interaction, training, growth, and fulfillment of others. It is in of itself a supervisory activity requiring physical, visual and/or intellectual contact. Managers are empowered by delegated authority and positioned to fulfill a well-described role. More specifically, managers are expected to produce.
The fundamental qualifier for being a manager is that a superior had confidence that the individual could fulfill the role based on a broad diversity of potential qualifiers such as:
- Ability to self-manage AND manage others
The positioning/perspective of a manager is:
- Front-facing for delivery of expectations (position), parameters/criteria (permission), and preparation/training (production)
- They generally do not fully trust that their superiors and/or their subordinates trust them as a manager
A manager’s effectiveness is dependent upon a manager’s real or perceived ability to impose accountability, both positive and negative on others.
Leadership is the continued pursuit of development in self and others in the areas of attitudes, actions, and communication. The concepts of leadership and team are interdependent in that all teams have a leader and groups cannot be a team without a leader. Leaders evolve from managers who grow in understanding and power – they are not positioned, appointed or empowered – meaning a title does not make a leader. More specifically, leadership is the process of influencing others to follow the desired path.
The positioning/perspective of a leader is:
- Trust in self and others
- People development – developing strengths in others
Leadership is a byproduct of a broad diversity of attitudes, actions and communication styles which impacts a target group. A leader’s effectiveness is dependent upon their ability to trust others and work to earn trust, be courageous, be competent, confident and communicate well and act as a role model for others.
Considering the difference between management and leadership defined above, as you are evaluating your people’s leadership potential, the most critical question to ask yourself is: “Does the individual’s approach motivate those he/she is managing to trust him/her?”
- If no, it is recommended that the individual remain in their existing role and should continue to work on communication and interpersonal skills.
- If the answer is yes, the recommended action would be to progress that individual to a leadership role.
Ensuring the future of your organization means making sure you have a deep bench of leadership. Once you have determined the placement of your managers, identifying the key leaders for your organization can be done by identifying these six key indicators (the 6 C’s):
- Capacity – the growth potential and versatility in an environment of continuous learning and adaption is one of the core components of identifying rising stars. Leadership candidates must either already possess, or have the capacity to learn intellectual capacity, big picture understanding, social versatility, patience, have a collaborative mindset, ability to influence others and be coachable.
- Commitment – someone who may take on the owner’s role should have enough passion for the business that they are willing to be a roles model and think ink and owner. This means their unreserved commitment in the business.
- Character – leaders need to be able to motivate others. Core beliefs and practices influence the organization and they convey trust and respect.
- Competence – future leaders must have the intellectual ability to know what is critical to the business, as well as being self-aware.
- Confidence – solid relationships built on trust and confidence will ensure a smooth and successful transition into leadership.
- Community – leaders must be team players who have at heart the best interest of all parties dependent on the ongoing continuity of the business.
A critical concept to understand is not all managers are meant to be leaders. In fact, only a few managers actually grow into leaders. A key reason for this is that not all individuals are willing to pour themselves into others for the fulfillment of the team and organization versus self.
Join Loyd Rawls at Digital Dealer 26 Conference & Expo for his session on Tuesday, April 09, 2019: 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM, “Developing Next-Gen Managers Into Leaders,” to learn how to enhance your ability to be an effective manager and drive your dealership into the future!