Shop Life Columnists

Time To Say Goodbye

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Nah, I am not leaving. Although I have said my fair share of goodbyes over the years.

Before starting in the automotive field at the age of 20, I had over 20 different jobs. Most of them lasted roughly 3 to 6 months. One job lasted almost a year and one lasted until lunch of the first day. I never felt bad about my job-jumping as I was testing the waters and exploring what caught my interest. It wasn’t until I had a few months into a company called Rapid Oil Change that I got to train an employee on how to properly do procedures. From there, I was hooked.

The goodbyes I am talking about are when you no longer can help another person grow and excel at their job. Hopefully this is because they have exceeded your plan and are ready for bigger and better things. The other side is when they do not have the discipline or desire to exceed your expectations. When you bring someone onto your team you are making a commitment to them to teach them how to be successful under your leadership.

One of the most fulfilling actions you can be a part of is someone leaving you to do something greater than you can provide for them. As a manager, your job is to hire a team and manage them to do tasks, creating a profit or increasing efficiencies. As a leader, your mission is to develop people according to their talents provide them with a platform to excel. There will be a time where your efforts have been received so well that they need to be moved to another area to continue their growth.

To loosely steal a theory from John Maxwell’s No. 1 law, “The law of the lid. We cannot bring someone past our own abilities. We must understand our abilities, work on improving them, but also understand that there is a time where we have maxed out our ability to bring someone to greatness. It is at this time that we must pass the torch to another leader. This results in having someone leave you and excel. There are few greater feelings than that.

If you fire someone, you have failed. You took on the responsibility to teach them how to be successful under your leadership. The term “you’re fired” should mean that you have failed to meet your promised commitment. I say this as far too many dismiss their commitments and blame the failure on the employee. When in fact it is the manager has failed to understand the employee’s learning and discipline style.

Firing quickly, in anger, and too often can be interpreted as the manager’s weakness to identify talent in the interview, their weakness to accept and utilize conflict and their weakness in developing personalities outside of their own. These issues need to be addressed with managers before the shop itself is fired from the customers.

To add a contradictory twist to the situation, there are people not meant for certain things. Some are not good with their hands and shouldn’t be in the shop. Some are not good with computers and shouldn’t be writing up customers. I myself am not good with moderation eating and shouldn’t drive in small cars. Everyone has a place and your business may not be it.

I believe that failure only happens after and event where you have learned nothing. You can indeed release people from their positions and accept that you could not reach them. Your goal at this point is to understand the mistakes you have made to cause the termination and create a plan to minimize those same mistakes from happening again.

When you ultimately decide that this person is causing more harm than good, cut them and cut them quickly. Do not allow someone in your location that will spread the idea that there is no need to move within the structure of your business.

Take a moment to evaluate your true intentions with your team. You can train and develop someone, and they may need to leave you. Or you can decide not to train and develop people and keep them stupid. At this point you have the privilege of keeping stupid forever. Decide that you can really make a difference in your team then read my next few articles. Or think your people skills are top notch and watch your people go to the competitors and succeed. It’s your wallet after all. Until then, be great!

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