A manager’s greatest asset is their leadership skills. A good manager motivates their team, can delegate well and inspires long-term retention.
While there are a few natural-born managers, the truth is that anyone can learn how to lead. Here are five ways dealership managers can begin improving their leadership skills right away.
Locate a Mentor
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to leadership skills. A mentor can help managers fine-tune their style by providing tips and advice from their own experiences. Mentors can also act as valuable sounding boards as new managers get their feet wet.
Some dealerships already have mentorship programs, in which case managers should be encouraged to join up. If not, a manager who wants to improve should look to leaders within their circle of family, friends, and co-workers from whom they can learn.
Hit the Books
If a mentor is unavailable, another excellent way for dealership managers to gain leadership skills is through books. Hundreds of capable leaders have written guides and memoirs over the years, and these can serve as examples for those seeking to learn.
Don’t have time to read? Today most of these books are available in audiobook format, making them easier than ever to access. Busy managers can listen over their commutes to and from work, or during breaks.
Head Back to School
Another way for managers to brush up on leadership skills is to invest in continued education. Both formal and informal schooling are more accessible than ever before. There are hundreds of business and leadership courses online today, many of them free, and just as many that offer certification. Managers can also attend conferences and workshops that focus on leadership skill-building.
Further education is also a way for managers to meet mentors. Teachers, workshop leaders, peers, and others met in the classroom could provide valuable guidance.
Active listening is an essential skill for all managers to practice. A great leader can listen to their team, learning what they need most. Active listeners make eye contact, and withhold forming responses until after the speaker finishes with what they have to say.
When done correctly, active listening lets employees feel heard and respected and provides incredible feedback to managers. Especially in this day and age, when we’re used to being ignored in favor of the other person’s smartphone, active listening packs a punch.
No one likes to be around someone who’s always pulling the mood down. A positive demeanor and can-do attitude can go a long way toward motivating staff. Effective managers practice making positive statements to their teams and look for ways to highlight the silver linings whenever possible.
In a similar vein, great managers also practice gratitude. Most people appreciate it when their hard work is recognized. With just a few encouraging words, dealership managers can convert even hardened skeptics into loyal followers. The key is for any positive statement or word of gratitude to be specific and genuine.