Leader or Follower?

Bruce NewsletterMy years as a Boy Scout taught me about the nature of leaders and followers and the relationship between the two. This is a lesson that has followed me through life.

The dictionary defines a leader as:

  1. a person who leads or commands a group
  2. a person followed by others

The dictionary defines a follower as:

  1. a person who accepts the teachings of another; disciple
  2. an enthusiast or supporter, as of a sport or team

Training in dealerships every week is no different. I have to determine who is the leader and who are the followers. Sometimes it is difficult to tell. When I work with a service manager, I always look to him or her as the leader. Are they the one to set a good example? Do they arrive before I arrive on site?

I usually arrive about 15 minutes before the service department opens. Most of the time the manager doesn’t arrive until after the service drive is open for business. By that time any “chaos” has been cleared up and the manager is oblivious to what has occurred. This typically is when a “follower” shows up that takes control and becomes the “leader”. At other times you will find that the situation just gets further out-of-control.

Most managers have “trained” their service staff on the steps to customer reception and a write-up procedure. However, it is common to see those steps ignored if the manager is absent. The manager should have made a decision on who the followers are by this point. I am amazed to see those steps are also ignored even if I’m in the drive before the manager arrives. He or she has to set the standard for the team to follow.

It is so important that the steps taught are followed each and every time with a customer. Think of McDonalds as a perfect example. When you go in the drive-thru what is the first question they ask when you order a combo meal? Do you want to upsize that? Aafter you answer that question what is the next question? Do you want an apple pie? Before you answer they say you can have one for $.89 or 2 for $1.00, and you know what your answer will be…almost every time!

If the team does not perform…do they replace the team or the Leader?

You only have one question to ask yourself. Are you the Leader?

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