Many elements form the nucleus of a successful auto dealership, including exceptional customer service, a healthy work environment, an outstanding product line, and efficient inventory management. But many dealerships often hamstring themselves when overlooking a key element: leadership training and development.
We will focus on two main approaches you can take to train and develop leaders in your dealership: internal and external. These approaches work best when applied as a tandem.
Internal: Mentor young talent
Internal leadership development is the practice of those already in leadership positions (e.g. owners and executives) devoting time and attention to molding and guiding employees who might one day be promoted to positions of leadership, as well as budding leaders and managers. To do this, existing leaders must drop the internal view of being "the boss" and adopt a mindset of a mentor and coach.
Here are a few stepping stones on this path:
Also, avoid micro-managing your young leaders. Give them real decision-making authority. Don't be afraid of their failures, as failure is inevitable. Remember that growth and learning comes from failure. These lessons will prove invaluable to them.
External: Materially invest in leadership training
There are a wide range of training opportunities available that will hone the leadership skills of employees that are serious about their leadership growth and development.
NADA Academy. This academy combines six one-week live-classroom sessions with hands-on practical training in all dealership departments.
ATD Academy. This academy is structured similarly to the NADA Academy, but the material is built to focus on developing leaders at commercial truck dealerships.
College of Automotive Management: Leadership in Sales and Management. This college teaches young leaders the concept of “servant leadership” — or helping other employees achieve their goals in the context of the dealership’s overall objectives. It will show them how to create the rising tide that will lift all boats. The college offers in-person and online training.
Joe Verde Sales and Management Training. This course focuses on developing and training leaders in sales and management to give the dealership a competitive edge. The course features workshops, classes, and online training.
David Lewis & Associates Leadership Series. This course focuses on the leaders themselves, exploring and reinforcing the various personalities and traits necessary to be an effective dealership leader. This course features workshops, in-dealership trainings, and online training.
Round up resources
Remember this key element to a successful auto dealership: leadership training and development. Although some are successful despite their methods, the best harness both the internal and external resources at their disposal to foster the growth of their future leaders.
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