Learn to Lead Better

Nov. 1, 2021

Bring strategies back to the operator’s impact.

As we get toward the end of 2021, you’ll see stories in NOLN that are trying to prime you to think about your leadership. The turn of a new year is always a great time to make adjustments, review your strengths, and strive to improve.

We’re kicking off this focus on leadership with this month’s feature story, which features two great operators who bring different perspectives in telling their leadership stories. 

First, many in the industry might recognize Steve Werner’s name. He’s the CEO of Team Car Care, the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee. I really enjoyed hearing about his career of more than 30 years in the quick lube business, all with the same company. Furthermore, Werner was a fount of great advice and thoughtful insights on what it means to turn leadership ideas into action and results.

At the heart of our conversation, he told me about how he learned the values of servant leadership, even before he was able to give it that name. It started with strong mentors that he saw in the field.

“I didn't even know what that term was early on in my career, but they certainly demonstrated that,” he said about those role models. “They cared for me, created loyalty and teamwork, and so I tried to emulate that.”

Complementing Werner in this month’s feature is the story of Mark Daleiden, who runs STMA Auto Center in St. Michael, Minn. He’s a lover of car culture and a great small operator, but I was excited to include him because he has perspective on multiple kinds of leadership. I’m referring to his tenure as a Wright County Commissioner, which he has held for 10 years.

It was great to hear about how his work in the public sector informed his leadership decisions in his own business.

The connective tissue in this story is how leadership develops and has to be maintained through change. To do this, operators need to be good at seeing their own strengths and being effective in using them. They also need to realize their weaknesses—often with the help of trusted advisors—and be humble to make improvements. It’s incredible to think about how much change management really is at the heart of leadership, and an expert in the story breaks that down as well. I hope it inspires some leaders out there to strive to be even just a little bit better.

I also want to shine a light this month on our excellent columnists. Lenny Saucier and Adam Tatum have been giving readers honest, real-world advice month after month, and this edition is no exception.

In case your shops are getting into a bit of a Fall lull, Tatum is here to remind you that slow days are the best time to catch up on deferred maintenance or prepare for the next big rush.

And Saucier, fresh off his insightful “Lessons From Mashed Potatoes” column in October, came with a no-B.S. November column that looks directly at an uncomfortable topic: What if an employee is stealing from your business?

With another strong group of strategy stories and a brand new Shop Look, this issue is one to keep around. 

Happy Fall to you all, and to those who are headed to Las Vegas for iFLEX 2021, we’ll see you soon!

Lavana Howard, vanna d. photography
Photo 112175298 © Weerapat Wattanapichayakul | Dreamstime.com
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez