Recently, I was asked to pray on and consider speaking at the Christian Auto Conference. After praying on for quite some time, I felt led to apply to speak on the power of the tongue using the book of proverbs as reference. I felt led to speak on this because in my almost 19 years in the car business, I have continuously watched management in various positions speak to employees in aggressive, condescending and just downright insulting manners. And every single time, even long before I was a Christian, nothing got my blood boiling more. Everyone is a human being and deserves to be spoken to and treated with respect. You can mange people and hold them accountable, and discipline as needed without using your words to talk at or talk down to someone. Use your words to speak life. Sure, you can rule by fear, but that is always short lived. It leads to animosity and resentment in the work place and high turnover. The ‘my way or the highway” approach does not work in the long term.
Do you know that when surveyed and asked why a person leaves a job, the number one reason is not money? It is feeling underappreciated or underutilized. I am sick and tired of hearing the old school mentality that the “car business is tough” or “it’s for the thick skinned only” or “only the strong survive.” Cut it out. This is not the marines. It’s selling cars and serving customers. The car business is no different than any other business, so we really need to stop telling ourselves it isn’t because honestly where has that got us? I’ll tell you where. We are among one of the most distrusted professions right up there with politicians and attorneys. Car buyers surveyed have said they would rather get a root canal without Novocain than walk into a dealership. If a car was not a “need” purchase and was a “want” purchase, most dealers would be out of business based on the treatment of people and the words they use in speaking to people, both employees and customers alike.
With the coddling millennial talk and the “safe spaces” and “snowflakes”. There is a big difference between those who feel they are truly entitled and speaking to people with respect and dignity.
With the “They are stupid and/or lazy and it is the 10th time I had to show them this so they deserve it” No. Have you trained them and if you did, then did you attempt to coach and counsel when they did not get it the first, second or third time. Everyone learns at a different pace and in different ways, and if you cannot tell the difference between the person who needs more time or a different way of learning compared to the person who just really doesn’t care, then you are not ready to manage people. And for those that don’t care, part ways and move on. Keeping them there so you can yell at them daily is for your ego, so stop telling yourself any different.
So here is my little rule of thumb before you open your mouth to anyone…
It must meet all 3 criteria. If it doesn’t zip it. It may be true but not necessary. It may be necessary and kind. Or it may be necessary and true but use your words to speak life and encouragement and that’s what makes it kind.
If you have read all of this and think I’m too easy on them, I challenge you to ask around about me. Ask anyone who ever worked for me in the last ten years what I am like to work for. I am one of the toughest bosses they ever worked for, is what they will all tell you, but not because I spoke down to them or yelled at them every day. Because I invested my time, blood, sweat and tears in them, and I expect nothing less than 100% from them every single day. And when they don’t measure up one day, because no is perfect, and I have to address it, I do it the right way.
If your team needs leadership and management training, visit our website at www.thebilliondollargirl.com and submit an inquiry. I would be more than happy to help rid the industry of this antiquated way of doing business!