Every business needs a great leader to be successful—a leader who remains strong and positive when the challenges appear to be overwhelming. Without strong leadership, a company cannot survive.
When I think of leadership, I think of Winston Churchill, one of Britain's greatest prime ministers and one of my heroes. Churchill understood that in order to defeat the Nazis in World War II, he needed the confidence of the British people. He knew that during the darkest days of the war, the spirit and morale of the people would pull them through.
What do Winston Churchill and World War II have to do with the auto service business? More than you think.
While we don't have to contend with invading armies, our everyday struggles and problems are not to be taken lightly. Management needs to be positive and create an environment of high morale. Concentrating on the negative will only serve to bring down the business.
The wrong leadership attitude will trickle down to everyone in the company, resulting in low morale and feelings of pessimism.
Look, something will always go wrong. You will have setbacks. Someone in your auto service shop will drop the ball and cause an unwanted situation with a customer.
All these things are inevitable. How you react to these issues is what will set you apart and make the difference. We all need to find that silver lining in every dark cloud.
We have all heard the expression, “turn a negative into a positive.” Is it easy? Absolutely not. But if you focus only on the negative, you are headed for a downward spiral of failure. If you concentrate your efforts in a positive way and show strength during a difficult situation, people around you will feed off that strength.
Don't let your emotions get the best of you, either. Maintain a cool head at all times because decisions made out of anger or feelings of anguish are usually the wrong moves.
Don't view hardships or mistakes as failures. The knowledge we gain from overcoming a difficult situation or mistake will make us stronger and prepare us to handle future adversities effectively.
Remember this example from history: When the Germans sank vital supply ships to Britain, Churchill emphasized to the public that hundreds of ships were untouched. He reduced all signs and symbols of negativity and inspired the British people with his words. He never outwardly showed anything but strength and confidence. He understood the power of being positive.
So what type of leader are you? Why not start today to be a leader who's positive in all situations? You can build up the morale and confidence of the people in your car repair business.
No shop owner or manager can command loyalty or respect—it's earned through action. Leaders achieve the respect and loyalty of their people by showing respect for others and by adhering to the team concept where everyone, including the owner, works hard at ensuring the success of the company.
You know you have a winning team when the people in your dealership or shop work together toward the common good and success of the business because they want to, not because you told them to do so.
Joe Marconi is owner of Osceola Garage, an automotive service and tire shop with two locations in Baldwin Place, N.Y. He also operates AutoShopOwner.com, a networking website where repair shop owners and personnel can share ideas.