A worker's natural focus on practical solutions often identifies a potential long-term employee — not to mention one with managerial potential.
Experience has shown that some workers instinctively complain rather than contribute to the team's overall effort, while others intuitively generate solutions to problems and challenges.
Complaints tend to cause discord, but solutions usually increase profits and foster a friendlier, warmer work environment.
Surely, additional profits are always welcome at your business, but a positive work atmosphere also is valuable — perhaps more valuable than ever today.
For one thing, these are unusually difficult times for many employees. For another, workers typically spend more time per week at your tire dealership or service shop than they do at home. Those are great reasons to minimize stress — wherever practically possible — throughout your business.
During my travels throughout the country, bosses sometime have surprised me with an apparent inability to distinguish one type of worker from the other. Their assessment seems to be that a complainer and a solver are essentially the same because each one has a pulse.
Mind you, I don't claim to be a human resources whiz. But as a reporter and salesman, I have tried to observe people to the best of my abilities.
With that in mind, it's often obvious to me which workers are natural complainers and which are solvers after working with them for a day or less.
I urge owners and managers to listen — then listen some more. These personality types usually reveal more than they realize during their routine interactions at work.
Clearly, working with a crew comprising different personalities may be difficult — challenging, to say the least. However, some bosses I have worked with seem to be jaded. It appears that they have tuned out much of the chatter and interactions around them as a method of coping with people.
But to me, this coping mechanism surely has its limitations. For instance, I have spent time at various auto service businesses doing my research. Sometimes an owner or manager has tapped me for my first impressions of the facility and personnel.
Perhaps I responded that technician Joe is very talented but also gripes a great deal about his coworkers and surroundings. Or maybe I observed that service salesman Charley sounds very knowledgeable but also has a complaint about nearly everything within his purview.
All too often, an owner or manager reacts indifferently. For example, he may assert that employees are inherently grumpy and critical. Basically, therefore, he's become immune to griping and sniping from people like Joe and Charley.
"If those fellows aren't complaining about something, we know it's time to check their pulse," the boss tells me.