Lead 2011, Not Manage 2011

In the Dealership we can find ourselves in a position where we are Managing more than Leading.

Typically, as the level of responsibility grows, so grows the level of administrative duties. These administrative duties include responsibility for how much to spend on light bulbs for the showroom floor to changing the shop supplies vendors.

Everything in the Dealership somehow manages to come across your desk, right?!

This is part 3 in the Leadership for 2011 series.

I came across this model for Leadership while conducting a Communications seminar for a large transportation company. I found the concepts so in line with what I had been taught over the years, that I wrote them down and am now presenting them to you.

The third concept in this Leadership model is…

Lead More, Manage Less.

I think the reason I identify with this particular concept so strongly is that as my positions changed in the Dealership, from Service Advisor to Service Manager, that I found I was not ready for the burden of administrative tasks that come with increased responsibilities.

In fact, Managing the day-to-day operations completely took me out of my Leadership role. I found myself more as an administrator than as a Leader.

It was not an overnight thing either.

It is a slow, gradual process, much like the branches of a vine climbing a trellis in the garden. It takes time. Inevitably though, without careful gardening, the trellis and the walls of the garden become covered in leaves and the original shape becomes obscured by vegetation.

If you sit in your office tending to administrative duties, before you know it, just like the garden trellis, you become  “covered with vegetation.”   

And the business does not stop. The “Managing” does not stop. The need for Leadership does not stop.

Hey, you, yes YOU!… your phone is ringing! There is a pile of “Urgent” Dealership business (read “crap other people don’t want to deal with”) sitting in your “in basket.” Your personnel are darting  in and out with the latest “heater” expecting you to deal with it. Sound familiar?

After awhile, you might begin to wonder, “What the heck am I doing here?” or “How do I get back to Leading and not Managing?”

Ok. Here are 3 Things you can do to start Leading More and Managing Less in 2011.

  • Delegate. That’s right. Give some of this away to other people who are competent. They will complain. They will tell you “I’m too busy.” Deal with it. Tell them “I need help.” Tell them how they can help you. Tell them the reward for helping you is dealing with all of the stuff that is not getting done now. The key here is not to have them do just the “crappy stuff.” Give away the good stuff to do too. They will appreciate the confidence you have in them and it will help you grow your team.  
  • Prioritize. Learn the difference between Now, Right Now, Never and Forget It . The best way I have ever heard prioritizing explained was from  Earl Nightingale on his CD titled “Lead the Field.” In  it he tells the story of an engineer hired to increase efficiency and what was accomplished when that engineer helped the CEO implement a simple daily review and action plan. Get the cd and listen. (You will find a whole bunch of Leadership in it as well)
  • LBWA. Lead By Walking Around. Get out of the office. Have a day or two per week that you do not go into your office for anything except an absolute bona-fide emergency…  and I mean calling the fire department type of emergency. Spend that time (all day) in the Service Drive or on the Sales Floor or at the back Parts counter. Talk with everyone including Customers, answer the phone like an advisor or parts counter person, write an RO, do a Trade Eval and Sales write-up on a Customer…you get the idea.


If you want to Lead More and Manage Less you must be where you can Lead.

That is in the trenches. You don’t see winning Superbowl coaches sitting in an office chair answering the phone during game time, do you? Nope.

They are right there where the action is.

Leaders want to be visible. They are accessible. They make decisions when needed to help with implementing the plan. They guide when necessary. Leaders also cheer  like mad men and mad women when their team gets it right.

You don’t do that sitting in the office becoming vegetation.

Lead More and Manage Less in 2011.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s