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  • Writer's picturePhil Villegas

Are You a Manager or a Leader? Retaining Your Employees Through Great Leadership

By Anthony Valdelamar

Vaccinated numbers are high and new Covid-19 infection rates are low, but now The Great Resignation says hello. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 8th, 2021, a record high of four million Americans resigned and quit their jobs in April 2021, which is the highest since the Bureau started tracking data in 2000. The Labor Department stated the largest decreases in employment were seen in retail, professional & business services, and transportation & warehousing, respectively.

These alarming numbers are showing trends that people are reevaluating what it means to work in a post-pandemic world. There are limited options to incentivize the retention of employees for jobs that do not offer flexible options. Making sure you are providing a great workplace for your employees is essential when trying to lower turnover rate and retain key employees.

One of the factors that ensure a great workplace is a great leader that strives to push their team towards success and cares about their wellbeing. The following are important to keep in mind when thinking of how to improve your managerial style in a way that will push you from a boss to a great leader for your dealership team:

Feedback and Goals

o One of the things that makes a great leader is one that knows how to give feedback. Many times, managers are afraid of providing feedback to avoid souring the relationship with their employees or are afraid they are not going to execute the delivery of the message properly. According to an article published by Harvard Business School, highlighting areas where employees did great and highlighting areas where employees need improvement is a great way to show them what they need to keep doing and give them goals of what needs to be improved upon. Simply saying someone did a good or bad job is not a sufficient way of giving and reinforcing feedback. For example, a service advisor upselling an alignment and new tires is great but paired with a negative customer survey, it is not. This is an example of a perfect opportunity to highlight what they should keep doing and what needs improvement.


o Your employees should be able to see the big picture just as much as you should. By keeping your employees engaged, this would ensure employees remain motivated and empowered to reach the dealership’s goals. Fostering a safe, fun, and competitive work culture will keep your employees engaged and looking forward to driving to work and clocking in, according to Harvard Business School. The occasional Saturday barbecue lunch for the team with a brief presentation on how to treat customers well, or group participation in a charitable event gives a sense of greater involvement and purpose beyond the core job responsibilities and generating revenue.


o A great leader is a forward thinker, meaning they anticipate and act upon the future. Work trends are changing, and Americans are leaving to find jobs with a better work-life balance. If you can offer hybrid options for certain qualified employees, you will be able to retain top talent by giving them flexible options. Additionally, forward-thinking also means being receptive to adopting the latest technology that will not only entice customers, but also make your employees’ work easier to perform and more efficient. Anticipate opportunities for workplace improvements and implement positive changes before the dealership down the road makes their work environment and systems more attractive to your personnel.

Retaining top talent is crucial in an economy where spots are opening and people are more propense to job hop for better work-life balance, better management, higher wages, or for maybe a shorter commute. Great leadership is a fundamental starting point to retaining talent in a changing environment.

It is important to step back and reflect your progress as a leader, because poor management can result in the loss of valuable players in your dealership. Valuable players can not only bring significant amounts of revenue, but they are also key players in developing and promoting work culture. That is why it is important to ask: Am I a manager or a leader?

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