I asked him what the event was and he said he was asked to speak on a panel as well as speak for 10 minutes on employee retention and training.
He is a very humble person in public but very intense about business. He thought he needed PowerPoint slides or something intricate but as he bounced from idea to idea I stopped him and I told him to forget about all of these “things” he felt he needed to create and just speak from the heart.
I told him he was perfect to speak on this topic. He is an involved manager. He does not run his business from behind a desk. He is out on the floor shaking hands with the customers, watching his staff, and being a part of the daily flow of work.
Secondly, as a manager he strongly believes in ongoing training. Not only does he send his staff to conferences or regional training events, he goes as well. He is right in front, ready to learn. I asked him where he got this passion from and he said it started very early in the business, going with his dad to meetings and training and he became addicted to learning all he could about his business. He is so involved now learning about Digital Marketing because he sees how things were always changing so he had to be involved.
Lastly, my automotive friend is known for treating his employees as equals. When he is at these events I see how he speaks to his people, he is learning from them as they tell him about the sessions they saw. He listens and then he asks questions, taking in what others are saying. He expects them to know their position and leans on them to offer strategy and opinions. There is not a sense of “he is the boss so I cannot disagree.”
We read so many articles about leadership and setting the correct example. Here is someone who does set the example and it is no coincidence his business is ranked #2 in sales in the United States for his brand, just missing the number one spot.
So to summarize what I see as effective leadership tips that you can employ today:
- Get involved with the people of your business. See what is happening in all departments. Get out from behind your desk. You cannot run a business just from looking at reports or meetings.
- Invest in training. The best companies invest in making sure their employees are trained to compete. Product knowledge, customer service, process training and the list goes on. Make sure you invest in yourself as well so you can lead properly.
- Get rid of “Title Ego.” Everyone has a role to play on a successful team. Leadership is about structure and execution, no self-involved power trips. Listen from your front line people. They have answers to help your company succeed.
The best leaders surround themselves with people who can execute on the things they can’t and who are willing to offer their opinion. The best retention of employees comes from investing in them both with training and respect for their performance.
You would be surprised what your employees can tell you in terms of how to improve your business.