What is the reason you go to work every day? Are you just going through the motions or do you want to be the best at what you do? Many shop owners are just trying to survive the day. It’s our responsibility to lead our team and it all starts with our attitude. We must be engaged and driven. A recent Gallup Poll showed that just 34% of U.S. workers are engaged. This tells me if you have ten employees, seven of them are not cognitively or emotionally connected to their work. We must do better than this if we want to grow and succeed. As the leaders, it is up to us to create engagement in our team. This may sound like a daunting task, but it really is fairly simple. If we can get our team engaged and focused, our clients will benefit and our business will grow. Here are some simple nuts and bolts ways to create engagement and get your team energized.
CONNECT WITH YOUR TEAM
Team is the idea. Think about it, we want a cohesive team that is heading toward the same goal. Walk the shop and engage with your team on a personal level, person to person. Relate to them, not as a boss or supervisor, but as an individual who is truly interested. This connection is the key to becoming a cohesive team. Without the connection, you cannot lead your team and they will not be energized or hopeful for the future. This is the critical first step that makes your ability to lead and manage your team possible.
DAILY PRODUCTION MEETINGS
Meet as a team every morning. Have a quick ten minute meeting. Cover the work in progress, what parts should be arriving and when, and priorities that need to be addressed. Go over the appointments that are coming in and how they need to be handled. Also cover any anomalies that need to be considered. Encourage your team to participate in these meetings. Think of it as a huddle before the play. This puts everyone’s focus on the team goals for the day ahead. It creates a sense of common objectives.
BE A HELPFUL LEADER
Help your team anytime you get the chance. We all know what it’s like to struggle with a situation. It sends the right message when you ask, “Can I get that wiring diagram for you?” or “Let me see if I can locate that part.” You are supporting your team in any way that you can. It’s not just words or theory; you are part of the team. It is all about the idea that everyone helps everyone achieve one mutual goal. Leading by example is how you can send the message that you are fully engaged.
QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
Maintain a folder for each team member. If they stay late to get a critical car done, or chip in to get something important completed, make a note and drop it in their file. You want some positive things you have seen to be mentioned in their quarterly reviews. This is how we get to the improvement portion. Recognize the examples of great things done and put opportunities for improvement in between the positive observations. This is called the sandwich method. It goes like this; great performance, opportunity to improve, and another great performance. You are letting them know you appreciate all their efforts, sacrifices, and still want to help them become even better. It is very important to recognize their performance in its totality. None of us wants to be considered only by the things we have done that are short of the mark!
Keep work interesting with a spiff program. Pick a service that is underperforming and offer a spiff. Have a roll of drawing tickets. For every qualifying sale, the service advisor and the technician get a ticket. At the conclusion of the promotion, have a drawing with everyone present. The prizes could be something such as a dinner and a movie for two, a fifty dollar gift card on a tool truck, four passes at the local go cart track, or tickets to a Nascar race. The best part is they will have a great time doing something special and remember it and talk about it for a long time.
SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION
Compliment great performance. Look for things that are exactly what you want from your team. Praise them for their effort. Everyone likes to hear they are doing a good job. Most employees feel unappreciated. Showing your appreciation is easy and very effective. Create a wall of fame. Put it in a public area. Print those reviews that mention specific employees and post them on the wall of fame. Doing things like this will lead to more great behavior.
CELEBRATE AS A TEAM
Look for a reason to celebrate together as a team. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. We have all had those supervisors who were nothing but negative. When people feel unappreciated they begin to disengage. The negativity can quickly infect the whole team. If you show the entire team their efforts matter, you will keep them engaged. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can put together something like grilling out for lunch. Tell the team they have been doing a great job. It can be as simple as bringing breakfast for everyone in the morning. The idea is positive team appreciation.
We have to lead our people and that means keeping them engaged and energized. Everyone needs a sense of purpose. We must keep work interesting by providing attainable goals and continuing professional development. This creates hope for the future. When your team is hopeful, they will be engaged. It all begins with you being a great leader and being an example that people want to follow. When you energize your team you will accelerate your success!