An early leadership lesson for me was the need to develop my replacement. My advancement in a company was determined by my ability to develop management and leadership behaviors in others. Jon Tanner’s quote above highlights how that fulfills those who do it well.

Growing leaders from within and helping each achieve beyond their expectations is the most rewarding part of being a manager. It fosters a positive internal culture as people see a path within your dealership to develop and grow. It also projects to your customers as they are more comfortable dealing with someone who has grown up and had success in your company.

Furthermore, this lesson helps with the changes in generations and in our fast-changing knowledge-based economy. Think beyond just precision farming to other information technology that requires knowledge workers.

In the old economy, when the managerial focus was mostly on efficiency, management and leadership were often separate. The short explanation of the difference is:

  • Managers do things right (efficiency), Leaders do the right things (effectiveness)
  • Managers cope with complexity, Leaders create change

In the new economy, where value comes increasingly from the knowledge of people, and where workers are no longer undifferentiated cogs in an industrial machine, management and leadership are not easily separated.

“A great leader and coach will help their people find their light and brighten it. The conventional way of leading, which tells us we must find and fix our weaknesses, is outdated and disengaging.”
— Monique Catoggio

Today’s leaders must embrace and capitalize on the uniqueness and strengths of each of their team members in order to ensure that they not only succeed wildly at work, but also succeed as leaders the rest of their lives.

People look to their managers, not just to assign them a task, but to define for them a purpose. And managers must organize workers, not just to maximize efficiency, but to nurture skills, develop talent and inspire results.

The late management guru Peter Drucker recognized this change when he identified the emergence of the “knowledge worker,” and the profound differences that information technology would cause in the way business was organized. With the rise of the knowledge worker, “one does not ‘manage’ people,” Mr. Drucker wrote. “The task is to lead people. And the goal is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual.” The organization, instead of fitting people into specific slots, should identify the strengths and aspirations of each individual.

Emotional Intelligence is at the Core of Developing Others

To help each person achieve their full potential requires a leader with a high degree of ‘emotional intelligence.’ Emotional intelligence has to do with the ability to control one’s own emotions while controlling said emotions rightly. It also has to do with one’s awareness of others’ emotions. Being emotionally intelligent calls for understanding your own opinions and having empathy for others’ opinions.

Who is more likely to succeed at helping the team grow – a leader who is found yelling at the team when under stress, or one who stays in control of their emotions to assess the situation?

Here is what a leader can relate to emotional intelligence:

  • They work to motivate those around them.
  • They focus on collaboration between team members to have a healthy working environment.
  • They value their employees for all of their efforts.
  • They “walk the talk,” or take the responsibility.
  • They develop and support others and encourage them to learn more.
  • They always make sure the team’s concerns are important and will be addressed.

After all, when workers feel respected, it’s a message that you’ve created a culture they won’t want to leave. So, they will be more likely to want to stay and grow in your organization. Thus emotional intelligence is as the core of developing future leaders.

Does Command & Control Work in the Dealership of the Future?

The short answer is ‘No.’

In the past the ideal profile of a new employee was ‘Smart, Diligent, Loyal.’ Now, the profile could be ‘Passionate, Creative, Takes Initiative.’

Which type of person would you want to manage? Certainly, the first type is easier when the focus in a dealership was mostly on process improvement, working harder and executing well.

With the speed of change in business, the application of exponential technology and generational changes, the need to experiment and ‘Create Change’ is important. This doesn’t diminish the need for process improvement, hard work and execution. It just means that command and control cannot work because it is slow to react to change and won’t attract ambitious and skilled people.

To develop your replacement, look for and leverage these intangible behaviors:

  • Shared values
  • Adaptability
  • Curiosity
  • Desire and plan to develop themselves

Or as David McCullough wrote “What is essential is invisible.”