The Golden Goose

Oct. 8, 2021

How to navigate the challenge of finding great leader for management.

The one thing that you all need to be successful in this industry is management. Not just any management, but great leaders.

Sure, some of you have the battlefield commission running the store effectively or the veteran that has hit a ceiling, and that is good enough. But to be truly successful, you need to be great. You are looking for positive, motivated, and hungry women and men for these roles. But therein lies the real challenge.  How do you identify and cultivate this in your business?

First, you must evaluate your own talent to see if you have any great leaders already in place. Are their stores clean, profitable, and not for lack of employees? Are they teaching and training their assistants to be managers? If you have some of these, then you are on the right track. Use these leaders to help cultivate your new opportunities. Each of you have your own expectations for the role of a manager in your business. Some of you need strong salespeople and some need those that can delegate and follow up. Only you know what you are looking for, so it could be easy to identify internally.

Now that you know who does and does not cut the mustard, you must decide what route that you want to take to get the replacement. Many of you will try to go about this on the cheap side, doing free ads on Monster, Indeed or another online hiring portal. These are great tools for you to use, but in this case, the applicant needs to be actively seeking a job. Consider putting together a budget each month for recruiting. I use Indeed search.  It is only $250 per month, but I get up to 100 contacts per month. That means I can search “manager,” and it will bring up a list of the resumes in the area with that job title or skill. Want to take a shot at your local Valvoline Instant Oil Change Center employee? You might just get lucky and see their ad online.

Doing the interview is just as important as the recruiting. Once you have them in front of you, do they look the part? How are they dressed? How do they speak? What is their experience level?

Let them do most of the talking to get a good feel for them. Once you get to this point, make sure that you set your expectations. This is what you do, and this is how you do it. If at the end of the interview, the feeling of moving forward is mutual, you onboard them and keep going. This is the point where you either make a great leader or just another manager. Are they shown how to do the paperwork and shoved into a role, or do you take the time to train them properly?

The Next Step: Training

This leads me to the final piece of the puzzle, the training plan. How many of you have a company training plan? Some of you will have corporate programs, like Jiffy Lube or Valvoline. Others of you reading this are independents and feel the need for a structured training plan is not needed, as its all in how you do your processes. Well, that is the start of a plan. The best way to train your people and build your culture is to put the pen to paper. You will make mistakes, as that is how we learn.  If this is not for you, look for outside training tools. Your parts stores and even your vendors have training programs online that you can utilize. In the ever-changing automotive environment, staying status quo should not be your answer.

It’s a lot of work, I know. But with hard work and a few changes within how you do things, you can create a pipeline to move from looking for exceptional employees to cultivating your own.  So simply put, if you want to find great people to run your businesses, all you have to do is perfect the process. 

Look for the talent, speak to the talent and train the talent.  

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