Five Ways to Develop Your Staff into the Automotive Industry’s Future Leaders


Take a moment to think of the best manager or staff leader you have. Think of their work ethic, creativity, and attention to detail.  Now, imagine of life without them (or how things at your dealership changed once they left). At some point, that employee will—or already has—moved on. The reality is that people will not stay in their current positions.

The average person will change jobs an average of 12 times throughout their career. So, the work life of the average individual is fluid. As a result, you have to become prepared for your best worker to no longer work with you. How do you do that? By training your other staff to fill their shoes, and teaching them to take on some of these characteristics.

The numbers show that creating a succession plan or a strategy for helping your other employees step into future leadership benefits everyone:

  • Sixty-two percent of employees surveyed say they would be “significantly” more engaged at work if their company had a succession plan.
  • Ninety-four percent of employers surveyed report that having a succession plan positively impacts their employee’s engagement levels.

A significant component of succession planning is training up leaders in your dealership ahead of time. To get the most out of your employees, read on for our tips for building up your staff to become the industry’s future leaders.

Promote Job Shadowing

Everyone has potential. Look at your current employees to see who is showing the most engagement and enthusiasm in your various departments. Have these individuals shadow some of your star employees and leaders. This process would allow them to see what life is like in leadership and become familiar with what could be expected of them if they were to step into that role.employees

Always Provide Feedback

One of the most crucial components of leadership development is creating a dialogue. Most of the time, your employees want to do well; they just may not have an idea of how you want them to accomplish this. Make a point to sit down with employees to offer constructive and valuable feedback. This step will help to steer them in a direction that allows them to do their best work.

Learn about Their Aspirations

What are your employees most passionate about? What makes them get up every morning to come to work? Find out what excites them about the job (and what other areas they may be interested in), and work to incorporate those aspects. The happier your employees are, the more likely they will be to give it their all and take on duties that benefit you both. See how you can incorporate the tasks and responsibilities they are passionate about along with those you need to be done.

Always Offer Training

No one becomes a leader overnight. Everyone requires training, instruction, and encouragement to step into leadership, and your dealership staff is no different. Provide them with as many training opportunities as you can. Training should be a balance of instruction specific to their department as well as general management and leadership training. It is one thing to be a good worker, but it is another to lead staff. So, work with your employees to figure out the right balance of training topics that will give them what they need.

Allow them to Take the Lead

Is there a low-risk project they can take the lead on? Can they take a more active role in supporting the current leader? Experience is sometimes the best teacher. If you have your eye on someone that has leadership potential, allow them to step into a temporary role of leadership. Collaborate with your lead staff to see how other employees can step in to fill their positions. Not only is it a great teaching tool, but it is also a way to build confidence in potential leaders.

Final Thoughts

Again, today’s employee is likely not going to decide to stay at your dealership for life. It may even be in their best interest to move around. So, you have to allow for this by not only creating a holistic succession plan for every position but by also allowing employees with potential to learn about and step into leadership.

You should always hire individuals with the mindset that they can eventually become a leader with the right training and instruction. Leadership development requires intentionality and strategic thinking, so always think of how your current leaders can influence those with potential.