Meir Ezra – After working for five years as a car salesman, Jim was promoted to the sales manager position. During his first week as manager, he decided he needed to show everyone who was boss.
Jim cracked the whip. He held a meeting and told the other sales
people, “I want 10 cars sold today or someone will get fired!”
Jim was pushy, demanding and angry. The sales people ran around looking busy and avoiding Jim. Everyone tried to force customers to buy cars, but car sales dropped.
Jim yelled even louder. “You can’t sells cars by pressuring customers, you idiots! Now get out there and sell these stupid cars!”
After a month of this, his two best sales people quit. Sales dropped even further. The car dealership owner said, “Jim, if you can’t turn sales around, I’m afraid I’ll need to get another sales manager.”
Jim said, “I can’t believe this! What am I doing wrong?”
Five Bad Leadership Attitudes
Like many new managers, Jim did not really understand his role as a leader. He and many other managers have these wrong ideas about managing people.
1. “Because I’m the manager, you better respect me . . . or else!”
2. “People are lazy and so I need to force them to work.”
3. “I am superior to everyone here which is why I can do anything I want.”
4. “If you work for me, you need to kiss my butt.”
5. “If you don’t like how I run things, you can leave.”
Because of these attitudes, Jim’s staff were selling fewer cars and looking for other jobs. If Jim did not change his attitude, he would also be looking for a new job soon.
Just in time, Jim learned this vital fact about management.
A Key to Leadership Success
“I believe that to command is to serve and only gives one the right to serve.” — L. Ron Hubbard
After learning about this important leadership attitude, Jim said, “What? I’m supposed to serve others? How ridiculous!” But then he thought it through. The lightbulb above his head started to flash.
“If I serve my staff by training them about sales and about these cars, they will know how to sell better.”
“If I serve my staff with kindness and courtesy, they will probably start to serve the customers better!”
“If I’m here to serve my department, I will help them make sales, not force them.”
A New Day
The next morning, Jim brought a box of chocolate doughnuts for his staff and said, “Today is a new day! This may be a shock to some of you, but I’ve realized that I’ve been a bad manager. I want to try helping you instead of yelling at you, okay?”
Jim then served his sales people by giving them sales tips. “Give every customer a service. Learn as much as you can about their needs. Offer your best advice. Be kind and helpful.”
He asked, “How can I help you each sell a car today?” The sales people had some ideas: “Fill the tanks full of gas so we don’t have to buy gas during test drives.” “Let us give out more brochures.” “Give a doughnut to each customer.”
Jim said, “No problem! I’ll get you gas, brochures and doughnuts. Anything else I can do for you?”
The staff were stunned, but happy.
During the day, he helped his sales people give service to the customers, not pressure.
“She wants to discuss it with her father first? That’s probably a good idea. Invite him down to meet us if he can.”
“He wants to test drive ten cars before deciding? No problem.”
“Can I get you folks something to drink?”
Jim persisted with his new service attitude. He thought of new ways to give service to his staff, his boss and their customers. Customers felt they were buying luxury cars because of the excellent service.
The sales people enjoyed their work. Jim had more fun with less stress. Car sales increased to record levels.
Service, Not Slavery
Jim had one small worry, “Will my people take advantage of me or run over me if I’m trying to give them service?”
He soon found this was not a problem when one salesman tried to boss him around.
The salesman said, “Jim, I need a few hours off to run some errands for my wife. And I need to borrow the demo car, okay?”
Jim said, “No. And you can’t take off a few hours until I see you sell one car today. How can I help you do your job?”
Even if you are not officially a manager, you are a leader. People follow your example, learn from you, ask for your opinions, do what you do first and so on. Constantly improving your leadership skills is essential to your success.
1. Make a list of everyone you lead in one way or another: customers, staff, coworkers, family, friends, colleagues, even your boss.
2. Write down one or more ways you can better serve each person this week.
3. Provide these services to everyone you work with during the week.
Observe the results. Watch how people react. Notice how you feel.
If you persist with an attitude of service, your position will improve, your pay will increase and those you lead will be more successful.