How Leadership Equates to Long-Term Success
Being a shop owner requires certain qualities. Among them are passion, dedication, commitment, and accepting certain responsibilities. In addition, a shop owner must create the vision, the mission, and the company’s purpose. While most shop owners usually have no objection to wearing a variety of different hats, in time, for the company to continue to grow will require a new set of skills. This is when a business owner becomes a leader.
There are many different types of leaders and leadership concepts. For this blog, I will focus on leadership and how it relates to long-term business success. In particular, the focus will be on employee development and the workplace environment.
Business owners do not live in a vacuum. The leader of a company cannot exclusively rely on his or her strengths and talents. When a business owner believes that their intellect is enough to grow the business, that is when the business plateaus and will eventually decline. Everyone is limited by their level of intelligence, talent, and abilities. For a company to achieve sustainable long-term success, it will take the collective intellect of the people within an organization.
In this blog, I will give you six leadership strategies that will help you position your company for long-term success.
Work on Yourself First
Every leader should start each day with a long, hard look in the mirror, and ask one question, “Have I done all I can to help bring out the best in others?” Anyone can be a boss, but not everyone can be a leader. Leaders understand that to achieve their goals, they need to help others achieve what they want out of life. A leader also understands that although it may be her company, it’s not about her. It’s about the people she employs. Helping employees grow and paying attention to their personal and career needs are the foundation for a successful business.
If you are in a leadership position, commit every day to improving your people skills. Take ownership of when things go wrong and look to blame yourself first. Remember, great leaders give credit to their team when they win and hold themselves accountable when things don’t go as planned.
Hire the Right People
Your success is directly dependent on the people you employ. Every organization needs a team of people who share common values and the same level of commitment to their coworkers and their careers. As I stated earlier, no leader can rely on his or her talents and abilities alone. Having the wrong people in your company will become an obstacle to your success.
Commit to a strategy of always recruiting and looking for superstars. Build a strong pipeline of highly qualified people. When the time comes when you need to hire someone, it’s far better to choose from a pipeline of prequalified people than take a chance on someone just to fill an open spot in your company.
Create an Amazing Workplace Environment
We all know that people don’t leave the company they work for, they leave the people they work for, and more often, they leave their boss or manager. For you to be a successful auto shop owner, you must create a workplace where people feel that they are respected. A workplace where they feel that the work they do each day matters to the success of the company. People crave recognition and praise, and there is nothing wrong with that. Giving praise and recognition makes people proud of themselves and their accomplishments. Building an amazing environment is more than having the right equipment and a clean workplace. Those things are of course, important. However, building an environment where people are aligned with the culture of the company and work as a team is essential to a healthy workplace and a healthy bottom line. It’s all about leadership.
Create Your Long-Term Personal and Business Goals
Every successful person understands the value of goal setting. Goals must be clearly defined, and need to be written down, with deadlines. Goals will allow you to achieve more in your personal and business life and in a shorter time.
But there’s another reason to have clearly defined written goals. When leaders have goals, they also have vision. When communicated properly, your goals and vision will inspire your team. It gives employees the confidence that they belong to an organization with a clear future. People want to be associated with winners. Having goals that include the entire team is not only a sign that you, the leader, are committed to the success of the company, but to the overall success of everyone within the organization. This is a powerful strategy.
Involve Your Team
The leader of the company, along with management, must develop the systems, processes, and procedures that will ensure consistency in workflow, customer service, and overall quality. However, once these standards are created and implemented, everyone within the organization must be able to give feedback on how to improve those standards. Your employees are in a position to know what is happening in real-time and may know better than management how to improve things.
Another important reason to involve your employees is that it promotes the team, and promoting the team is another crucial step in building a successful company.
Learn to Communicate Better and Listen to Others
Leaders must learn to communicate their culture and values. Leaders must also continually communicate their vision, their mission, and their purpose. But communicating properly cannot be attained without the skill of listening. As I stated earlier, leaders know that it’s not just about themselves, but about taking care of others around them. Which means that effective leaders become effective listeners.
Whether you’re conducting a team meeting or having a one-on-one, be consistent in your messaging, which centers around your culture and vision. However, you also must promote an atmosphere where people don’t fear speaking up and giving their opinions. When the leader is open to listening to others, it creates an environment where different strategies can be introduced to the group, and where engaging discussions can occur. This is another foundational building block that will build a more successful company.
Never Forget Your Number One Responsibility
While there are many facets to the life and career of a leader, perhaps their number one responsibility is to the welfare of others. This concept is often called servant leadership. It’s a leadership style that focuses on the growth of the employees. It’s a commitment where the well-being of the employees is considered a top priority. Additionally, employees are given every opportunity to grow in their positions and work with management to establish their career paths. In this environment, employees feel empowered, knowing that the goals of the company are aligned with their goals. A very powerful strategy.
Leadership in any organization is crucial to its long-term success. It’s the reason Leadership is discussed and reviewed at the beginning and at the end of the Elite Fly with the Eagles course. The days of “My way or the highway” are gone, and for good reason. Employees are people, not machines, and need to be treated as such, with dignity and respect. When you, the shop owner, uphold the concepts of leadership, magical things begin to happen. Your life begins to get better because you are making the lives of those around you better. At Elite Worldwide, we feel that is the foundation of every successful businessperson.
About the author – Joe Marconi – With over four decades of industry expertise, Joe is a seasoned professional whose accomplishments include owning and operating one of America’s most successful auto repair companies. A graduate of the Automotive Management Institute, Joe is a recipient of the CARQUEST Excellence Award, served on industry panels, and played a role in developing the ASE Engine Performance Certification test. As a former columnist for Ratchet & Wrench Magazine and co-founder of AutoShopOwner.com, Joe has been a keynote speaker at the Ratchet and Wrench Conference. After selling his automotive company in 2021, Joe now dedicates his time to giving back to the industry as a Top Shop 360 Business Development Coach with Elite Worldwide and serves on the board of directors for the Service Stations Dealers of Great New York. Joe, a Bronx native now residing in Patterson, New York, enjoys family time, community involvement, and pursuits such as tennis, golf, and woodworking.