5 Key Qualities to Transform Great Managers to Great Leaders

Great dealerships need great leaders

Leadership is a word we often hear—simply put, it is an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward success. Though it is a role some tussle to uphold, it can be mastered. If you’re a current or aspiring manager, it’s crucial to focus on good leadership as it can be a huge asset to advancing your career. In addition, dealerships need great leaders as leaders help direct a dealership’s resources for improved productivity and achievement of goals allowing for mutual success.

Effective leadership comes with life-long learning about oneself and the responsibilities of being a leader. Individuals have their own inner lives, and they are driven by their beliefs, aspirations, values, and fears. These interior elements vary from one person to the next, guiding individuals to take different actions. Interestingly, the choices people make for themselves and their teams are extensions of reality in their hearts and minds. Therefore, those who seek to lead impactfully and take dealerships to the next level must look at their internal experiences and decipher their traits.

We often observe a basic level of self-awareness managers have about themselves, such as, I am a team player, I can’t trust anyone, or I believe in transparent communication. Often top-performing sales personnel become great managers, but what separates managers from a leader?

The difference between managers and leaders

Managers and leaders complement each other but are commonly two separate people. A leader inspires and encourages others to achieve visionary goals. Whereas a manager deals with their department’s day-to-day operation and ensures the tasks are being performed as expected. They focus on their performance but carry minimum responsibility for their peers.
Generally, managerial tasks in dealerships include:

  • Review inventory to ensure the proper mix of stock
  • Stay abreast of and comply with federal, state, and local regulations
  • Direct and schedule the activities of department personnel
  • Make sure the service quality meets customers’ expectations
  • Plan training and development for team members

What does it take to become a great leader, and why do dealerships need great leaders?

Leadership skills are critical to maximizing the efficiency of the whole team, which facilitates achieving the overall vision and goals of the dealership. Though different leadership styles can be utilized at different times, some qualities are essential to transform great managers into great leaders.

  1. Constantly learning and striving for growth

    Great leaders refuse to remain stagnant and continually seek opportunities to develop themselves and their teams. They strive to improve their self-knowledge to identify strengths, limitations, and areas of improvement. Furthermore, leaders have a vast appetite for learning beyond their role in the industry and appreciate the company of experienced professionals to accelerate growth. Their team members’ personal and professional development is equally valuable to great leaders.

  2. Good at identifying people who are better than them at specific jobs

    Great leaders do not shy away from acknowledging their limitations. Instead, they fill the gap by finding people who are better than them at specific jobs. Knowledge of one’s own traits and teammate personalities provides understanding for employing the right person for the right role. Measuring characteristics and dynamics is relatively straightforward with data-based behavioral analysis tools such as PDP. PRO Team’s well-trained and certified consultants can support hiring and placing individuals in the role where they can contribute to the highest of their capabilities.

  3. Focus on their team as much as they focus on their customers

    The automotive industry is people-centric, and employee satisfaction matters as much as customers’ satisfaction. Furthermore, dealership culture influences customers’ service, directly impacting referrals and sales. Therefore, employee development, proper training, and positive work culture are imperative to retaining talents in your dealership. Great leaders recognize the value of their people and their professional needs. They are mindful of identifying ways to help, enrich, lift, and empower their teammates.

  4. Anticipate market trends and adapt to changes quickly

    Shifting ahead requires leaders who can take bold and strategic actions. Having the vision to anticipate what lies ahead and taking proactive steps to market conditions can keep you and your people ahead of the power-curve and able to react more quickly when things to change. Great leaders stay abreast of the trends and recognize that uncertainty is a part of the auto industry. From digital financing to touchless deliveries and everything in between, effective leaders adapted quickly to save the day.

  5. Consider both the bigger picture and the details

    Tracking the big picture involves stepping back from time to time to scan the horizons beyond the auto industry, for instance, assessing the effect of high-interest rates on vehicle affordability and sales revenue. Conversely, focus on details such as how much you have to make up on profit per retail unit to stay even with last year. Do I have a high penetration product to increase profit per vehicle retailed, or is there a hi-tech marketing tool to increase the market share of my dealership?

Constantly evaluating the market and utilizing industry resources for awareness of the trends and indicators would enable managers to broaden their perspectives and transform into leaders.

Dealerships need great leaders for mutual success

Great leaders adapt to their surrounding environments and empower the team to succeed. Furthermore, an effective leader understands the strength and limitations of their team, is decisive—adapts quickly to changing situations, and treats the team with fairmindedness and equity. Dealerships need great leaders to foster a culture of growth that leads to mutual success for dealers and their team.

We are here to support your success

The auto industry is experiencing fresh challenges and could see significant changes as the market shifts. PRO has been supporting dealers with innovative strategies to keep profits high. Reach out to us to see how we can boost the profitability of your dealership.


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