Be A Model Leader In 2011

The personnel in your Dealership are looking to you for direction. They are in need of someone to emulate and follow.

This is part 2 of a series on Leadership for 2011.

In the first post I told you about a training visit and seminar I conducted and how I found a Leadership module hanging on the wall that I thought was one the best I have seen.

The second concept that was written on that poster was…

 “Model The Way.”

What it means is that as a Leader, if you want your personnel to behave in a certain manner or respond in a certain way to daily work situations then you must behave and demonstrate what that looks like to all of your personnel.

I’ll give you an example.

I was a Service Advisor in a Dealership and one of our Customers had a problem with the car jack. It seems that she had a flat tire and had pulled over in an area that caused the car to be slightly off angle.

They put the car jack under the car and due to the circumstances of the car being on an angle and the Customer not properly using or understanding the procedure or… who knows what happened, one thing led to another, and during the tire changing process, the jack became damaged. Into the Dealership she comes and of course “Sorry ma’am, not covered” and poof…we need to have someone from the factory look at the failed component and determine if they will pay for a new jack.

The meeting is set, in comes the Customer, here comes the factory and the conversation went something like this.

Customer “I would like to have my jack replaced at no charge because it failed on me and I could not use it to change my flat tire. I had to call a tow truck and it cost me money not to mention the down time. I just want my jack replaced. I think that’s fair.”

Factory “No.”

Customer “Why not? I just explained the circumstances and although we certainly had something to do with it, the jack did not work properly. It failed and I had to call a tow truck.”

Factory “No.”

Customer “I have been a loyal Customer and I really think that consideration should be given to the circumstances we were in. We could not move the car to a better location. The jack did not do what it was supposed to do.”

Facory “No. You did not follow proper procedure and the jack failed because of your negligence. I will not pay for a jack.”

Customer “I would like to ask someone else.”

Factory “No. What do you want me to do? Pay for it out of my pocket?” At this point he took out his money clip and threw it across the counter at her. “Why don’t you just take that money? Right? You won’t acknowledge that this is not a factory defect and I guess you just want my money now, is that it?”

Luckily, another factory rep broke into the exchange and pulled his guy from the counter (grabbing the money clip) and moved away. The Customer was in shock (as I was). During the exchange she never raised her voice or spoke in a derogatory manner. She really believed that there was some sort of design or manufacturing defect.

It gets better. This same factory rep later chastised the Dealership personnel for “not taking care of the Customer.”

As a Service Advisor, what behavior was just Modeled for me? Can I assume that it is ok to be uncooperative with a Customer merely because I am in a position of authority? Is it ok to be confrontational with a Customer? What about the judicious use of discretionary spending? What did I just learn about taking care of the Customer?

When you are the Leader and you are on point, everything you do is looked at by everyone below you and is constantly being examined, dissected, analyzed and ultimately judged by the standards and values the people you Lead have.

These standards and values come not only from their own life experiences but also from the learned behaviors and habits they have from working in the industry, their previous mentors and Leaders and the current policies and standards of the Dealership they are employed at now.

If you as a Leader want your personnel to behave in a certain way then you must Model The Way for them to behave.

You can’t ask someone to do something completely contrary to what you just did and expect them to do follow through. They will either say “Ok” and do nothing or say “Ok, but what about you? I just watched you blow up Mrs. Jones there and now you want me to take care of the Customer, but not the way you did? What are you smokin’ there bud?”

Make a committment to yourself that as a Leader in 2011 you will Model The Way and behave towards everyone exactly as you expect them to behave and watch what happens.

Your personnel are watching. Do the right thing.

Model The Way.

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