AKRON (March 17, 2003)—Mr. Tire Dealer, have you ever wondered how your employees would rate you as a boss and leader?
Allow me to be your technicians' proxy, evaluating you based on countless conversations I've had with techs as I've traveled across the country.
If you haven't wondered what your crew really thinks of you, you're not alone. I'm convinced that avoiding self-evaluation is only human nature. Most people aren't anxious to look in the mirror—or look into it for too long. However, experience shows that a little self-evaluation goes a long, long way toward improving the person, not to mention the business.
What prompted this column? Recent news stories about school districts in which teachers rate parents. For example, do the parents read and sign everything that is sent to them? Do the parents encourage their children and help with homework when asked to? How often do parents attend critical meetings and important activities at school?
So in that role-reversal spirit (teachers evaluating parents instead of vice-versa), here are examples of how some technicians negatively assess their bosses. Do you see yourself in this unflattering mirror?
The boss who cannot praise in public and reprimand in private.
The boss who turns public reprimands into bouts of belittling and humiliating a worker.
The boss who is so insecure he always feels the need to flaunt his wealth in front of his staff, supposedly ensuring that they realize he “has arrived” and that he's a “player” in the local business community.
The boss who flaunts his wealth in front of the staff, thinking it's some sort of motivational tool that will inspire his crew to work harder.
The boss who flaunts his wealth in front of the staff while his employees don't have wash-up stations or restrooms that are fit for human beings.
The boss who flaunts his wealth in front of the staff while the roof over the service department leaks like a sieve every time it rains.
The boss who flaunts his wealth in front of the staff while refusing to have the service department's floor drains professionally cleaned or upgraded and repaired as needed. Therefore, it's difficult—if not impossible—to keep the floors clean without creating standing pools of dirty water.
The boss who demands more productivity and more efficiency while forcing the crew to work with inadequate and/or outdated equipment.
The boss who demands respect from his crew but fails to earn respect by leading by example.
The boss who disregards and disrespects family-related issues be-cause he either has no family or no family life at all.
The boss who discourages integrity and professionalism due to a take-no-prisoners, shake-them-down-for-all-they're-worth business philosophy.
A boss who demands greater profitability from the service department while refusing to invest in ongoing training for the staff.
A boss who berates his information-hungry staff with comments such as, “Why should I waste money training you when you're just going to leave me and start your own business?”
A boss who refuses to allow technicians to leave work early when they have to attend night classes. He sees no need for them to get a shower, change clothes and get a decent meal before class begins.
A boss who allows some of his crew to attend class while high or drunk.
A boss who does not hold supposed “top-producing” technicians accountable for their mistakes.
I've met a lot of bosses in my time in this industry. Given the opportunity, many of them will rant non-stop about problems with their employees and how difficult it is to find good help. These same people look befuddled when I respond that countless technicians out there are searching for a boss worth working for.
As far as I'm concerned, a failing grade on any of the items mentioned above is reason for soul-searching and corrective action. Think about it.