How To Succeed As A Dealership Manager: Tips for a new manager17 min read

How to succeed as a dealership manager Tips for a new manager

How To Succeed As A Dealership Manager: Tips for a new manager

You finally did it. After years of hard work and determination, you have been promoted to manager at a dealership. This is a big accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself. However, the job is not going to be easy. There are many challenges that come with being a good manager, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you want to be successful, you’ll need to learn how to overcome them. In this post, we will discuss some tips that will help you navigate the waters of being a new manager at a dealership.

How to succeed as a dealership manager Tips for a new manager
How to succeed as a dealership manager: Tips for a new manager

1. Don’t try to do everything yourself

One of the most important things that you need to do as a new manager is to delegate tasks. You cannot do everything yourself. This will only lead to burnout and frustration. Learn to let go of some tasks and delegate tasks to employees in order to maximize your time and efficiency. You need to focus on the big picture and let your employees handle the day-to-day operations. This will allow you to manage your department effectively and lead your team to success. Delegate tasks to your team members and trust them to get the job done.

However, when you’re delegating tasks, it’s still important to stay involved and check in with your employees periodically. This will help you ensure that tasks are being completed properly and in a timely manner. Additionally, by staying involved, you will be able to build trust with your employees. They will know that you are invested in their success and that you care about the quality of their work.

On the other hand, you also need to know when to step back and let your employees work independently. If you micromanage every task, your employees will become frustrated and demotivated. It is important to find a balance between being involved and giving your employees the freedom to do their jobs.

2. Don’t avoid your boss

Don’t avoid telling your boss things that are going wrong. This can create a barrier between you and your boss that is difficult to mend. It’s important to be honest and open with them so you can work together to fix the problem. Avoiding your boss, even if things are going poorly, is the worst thing you can do as a young manager.

Beating around the bush or trying to sugarcoat bad news will only make things worse. Your boss is likely experienced in leadership and management, so they can handle difficult news. They would rather know what’s going on so you can work together to fix the problem.

It can be tempting to try to hide bad news from your boss in order to look like you’re doing a good job. However, there’s no sense in hiding or delaying bad news because they eventually find out from another source, so just be honest with your boss.

As a young dealership manager just starting in the automotive business, remember to be open and honest so you can work together effectively. It’s important to have a healthy relationship from the start so that you can work together towards success!

If you have a problem, address it head-on. This will show that you are willing to work through difficult situations and that you are not afraid of confrontation.

3. Strong communication skills

In order to succeed as a dealership manager, it is important to have strong communication skills. You need to be able to communicate effectively with your boss, employees, and customers. This is important so that everyone knows what’s going on and so that tasks can be completed efficiently. Additionally, dealership managers need to be able to keep track of deadlines and what tasks or jobs still need to be completed. By staying organized, you can lead your team effectively towards meeting their goals.

Some specific examples of why strong communication skills are important for managers to include:

  • Being able to communicate with customers so that they understand what needs to be done and are satisfied with the service they receive
  • Being able to communicate with employees so that they know what needs to be done and feel comfortable asking questions
  • Being able to communicate with the boss so know what tasks are completed, what goals you are working on next, and if you can meet deadlines

Dealership managers who can effectively communicate with everyone involved will be more likely to succeed in their role. This is because strong communication skills are necessary for keeping everyone on the same page, ensuring that tasks are completed properly, and building trust between employees and customers. If you want to be a successful manager, start by honing your communication skills!

4. You’re a boss, not a friend

As a new manager at a dealership, it is important to set boundaries with your employees. This will help avoid any potential conflicts in the future. You need to maintain an arms-length distance from employees; remember that you are their fierce leader, not their best friend. While you can be friendly, close personal friendships can complicate things when you become their boss. It’s even more difficult to set boundaries with employees if you have recently been promoted to a managerial position. You used to be part of the gang, but now you’re their leader (which can get awkward in the beginning). By setting these boundaries from the start, you will establish a healthy and professional relationship with your team.

  • Avoid becoming too friendly with employees
  • Establish rules and expectations early on
  • Remain professional at all times
  • Do not hesitate to discipline employees when needed
  • Keep personal feelings out of the workplace
  • Respect employees’ privacy
  • Do not take sides in employee conflicts
  • Avoid showing favoritism
  • Be consistent in your treatment of employees

This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you a good starting point. Remember, setting boundaries with your employees is essential to maintaining a healthy and productive workplace. Finally, don’t forget to lean on your boss for guidance. They have been in your shoes before and can offer valuable advice on how to succeed in your new role.

5. Set the right tone with employees

When a new manager steps into a leadership role, they must be careful to set the right tone with their staff. The way a manager interacts with and treats their employees will have a big impact on the overall culture of the workplace.

If a manager is too lenient and aloof may find it difficult to maintain order and keep employees on task. On the other hand, if managers are too strict, it may create a hostile work environment that makes it difficult for employees to feel motivated or engaged.

Approachable managers that are friendly with an open-door policy and that enjoy helping staff solve problems together, employees will likely feel comfortable coming to them with problems or concerns. On the other hand, if a manager is aloof, prone to redirect blame, or fails to help resolve their problems, employees may be less likely to feel comfortable speaking up.

In addition, a manager’s behavior can set the tone for how employees interact with each other. If a manager is respectful and professional, employees are likely to treat each other with respect as well. Conversely, if a manager is prone to outbursts or bullying behavior, employees may start to emulate that behavior themselves. Therefore, it is important for new managers to be aware of the impact their behavior can have on the workplace and to make an effort to set a positive tone from the start.

The key is to strike a balance between these two extremes. By setting clear expectations and maintaining a consistent approach, a new manager can set the tone for a productive and positive work environment.

6. Hold employees accountable

It is also important to hold employees accountable for their work. If an employee is not meeting your expectations, it’s essential to have a conversation with them. If they make a mistake, don’t hesitate to correct them and help them work through their mistake. It is essential to be clear about what you expect from your employees in terms of customer service, sales expectations, and performance goals. This will help them learn from their mistakes and avoid making them in the future. Holding employees accountable helps them stay on track and ensures they always perform their best to be successful in their roles.

Build rapport with other departments at the dealership
Sales, service, parts, and accounting are all important departments in a dealership. Build rapport with other departments at the dealership.

7. Build rapport with other departments at the dealership

Another important tip for young managers is to build a good relationship with all the different departments at the dealership. That way, when you need something or are in trouble, they will be more likely to help you out. Building good rapport with other departments also ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows what’s going on. If there’s good communication between departments, then things will run more smoothly. Lastly, it makes it easier to get things done when you have a good relationship with everyone.

Sales, service, parts, and accounting are all important departments in a dealership. If you can build positive relationships with all of them, you will be able to create a well-rounded team that can work together effectively. It’s important to remember that you need to be a team player in order to succeed as a manager. So, don’t forget to build rapport with other departments!

8. Communicate long-term plans with employees

It is important to communicate your long-term plans with employees. By sharing your vision for the future, you will motivate and inspire your team. This helps employees feel like they are part of a team and that they are working together towards a common goal. When employees know what the department’s goals are, they can work harder to help achieve them. Additionally, employees can provide valuable input that can help you achieve your goals. For example, an employee might have a great idea for a new product or service that the dealership could offer. Here are 5 ways you can communicate your goals with staff:

1. Hold regular meetings to update employees on the department’s goals and progress

2. Send out memos or emails with updates

3. Make presentations at team meetings

4. Have one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss their roles and responsibilities

5. Use a bulletin board or intranet site to post updates

By sharing your long-term plans with your employees, you will motivate and inspire them to do their best work for you.

Additional tips for new managers:

Whether you are new to the manager’s role or a new manager at the dealership, employees may feel insecure if you do not openly communicate with them. New managers have many responsibilities, but one thing that shouldn’t go unnoticed is making sure everyone knows your plans for the department and how they will impact. They may have questions weighing on their minds that you would need to address shortly after you assume the role of manager. You can help put their minds at ease by answering a few questions like:

  • What new changes are you going to introduce?
  • Where is the business going?
  • How will it affect me?

As a new manager trying to establish yourself in your position and gain respect from staff members, develop your long-term plan and share it with them. The sooner you can communicate this information with them, the quicker they can help you step up from a manager to a leader.

9. Profit is required to be a successful manager at a dealership

Being a successful manager at a dealership means that you need to know about business and, at times, make tough decisions. You need to know how to price products and services, create performance bonus plans or commissions, be knowledgeable about marketing, and understand seasonal changes. If you are a service manager, include door rates, repair price matrix, maintenance pricing, and service labor time guides. Additionally, you also need to be able to keep track of how much money your department is spending, control costs, and keep track of expenses. If you can understand and keep track of the business side of things, you will be able to improve your bottom line and succeed as a manager. Profit is required to be a successful manager, but it is not the only thing. You also need to be a good leader and have a strong team behind you.

10. Never stop learning

As a new manager at a dealership, it’s essential never to stop learning. The automotive industry is constantly changing, and you must be up to date on the latest trends. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and make better decisions for your team. Additionally, always be looking for ways to improve your management skills.

Learning is long-term, so get into a healthy habit of learning one new thing daily; this could be something about your industry, yourself, one of your staff members, another department’s task, or a new task altogether. By never stopping learning, you will be able to serve your team and dealership better.

11. Stay organized

Being a dealership manager can be a lot of work. That’s why it’s important to stay organized so you can keep track of what needs to be done. This will help you lead your team effectively and reach your goals. There are a few ways you can stay organized as a manager:

1. Keep a calendar and to-do list: This will help you keep track of deadlines, meetings, and other important events.

2. Delegate tasks: Delegating tasks will help you get things done more efficiently. By delegating, you can focus on the most important tasks and leave the less important ones to your team.

3. Prioritize: By prioritizing, you can focus on the most important tasks first and get them done in a timely manner. This will help you stay on track and avoid missing deadlines.

By staying organized, you will be able to lead your team more effectively and reach your goals.

12. Learn how to address workplace conflict

Employees in the United States spend an average of 2.8 hours per week on workplace conflict, you’ll inevitably find yourself in some tense conversations. 

Workplace conflict is unavoidable; dealerships are fast-paced environments that drive stress levels high. Employees are constantly working on a tight schedule, and everyone is trying to get their customers out the door first. All of which create tension and workplace conflict between staff members. Knowing how to manage these situations is vital to keeping employee productivity high and attitudes positive.

When you find yourself in the middle of workplace conflict, your instinct might be to ignore them, hoping the situation will eventually resolve itself. The more you avoid an issue, the worse it becomes, which is why you need to learn how to resolve workplace conflict effectively.

When a team member has a problem, it is important for the new managers to listen carefully and try to understand how the employee feels. Acknowledge their feelings and try to find a way to fix the problem. By actively listening and empathizing with employees, you will be able to build a better relationship with them. Finally, when there is a conflict between two employees, it is important not to take sides. Instead, try to mediate the situation so that both parties can come to an agreement. This will help you resolve workplace conflicts more effectively.

Some helpful tips for resolving workplace conflict include:

  • Encouraging employees to share their concerns with you openly and honestly
  • Making sure that employees feel heard and valued
  • Detach from your biases and preconceptions
  • Don’t take sides; you are the mediator representing both sides
  • Actively listen to their concerns and block out the urge to interrupt or assume
  • Trying to see the situation from the employee’s perspective
  • Offering support and resources to help employees resolve the issue
  • Working with other departments or managers to find a resolution

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stuck, or unsure what to say, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your team or other department managers in the dealership. When you effectively resolve conflict in the workplace, it goes a long way in making sure that your dealership runs smoothly. Employees will respect you as a manager and be more likely to come to you with problems instead of going around you. This will make your job much easier in the long run. So don’t shy away from conflict; embrace it and use it to your advantage.

13. Use the magic words “What do you think?”

If you want to be a successful dealership manager, it’s important to ask your employees for their opinions and ideas. By asking “What Do You Think?” demonstrates respect and empowers them to solve their own problems. Using the magic words “What do you think?” can help make this process easier and more effective. By asking for employees’ input, you can show that you value their opinions and create a more collaborative environment. This can ultimately lead to better results for your department. So, if you’re looking to be a successful manager, don’t forget to use the magic words “What do you think?”!

14. Maintain a positive attitude

Finally, it is important to have a positive attitude. As a manager, you are responsible for setting the tone for your team. If you are positive and motivated, your team will be more likely to reach its goals. Additionally, customers will be more likely to do business with a company that has a positive attitude. Try these 5 tips to help you maintain a positive attitude at work:

1. Make a conscious effort to be positive. If you are not in a good mood, it can be tough to put on a happy face for your team. However, it is important to make a conscious effort to be positive. This will not only make your team more productive, but it will also make you happier.

2. Find something to be grateful for. It can be tough to stay positive when things are going wrong, but focusing on the good things in your life can help. No matter how bad the day may seem, there is always something to be grateful for.

3. Smile. A smile is one of the simplest ways to show that you are happy and positive. Not only will this make you feel better, but it will also put others at ease.

4. Avoid negative people. Negative people can often bring down your mood and productivity. It is best to avoid these people whenever possible. Instead, surround yourself with positive people who will lift you up.

5. Take care of yourself. It is important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally if you want to maintain a positive attitude at work. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy whole foods, and exercise regularly.

Embrace your new role as a dealership manager
Leading can be an amazing experience that is full of rewards, so embrace your new role as a dealership manager.

15. Embrace your new role as a dealership manager

Leading can be an amazing experience that is full of rewards. Don’t take your new position lightly, and make sure to put in the work! Embrace your new role as a manager and take it seriously by learning as much as you can, then mentor your staff to a brighter future.

Next Steps:

As an automotive manager, you need to have a good relationship with your boss. They are the one who ultimately decides whether or not you are successful in your role. If you avoid them, they will not be able to see your talent, and you will not be able to reach your full potential as a manager. Do not forget that profit is important, but it is not the only thing that matters. Always put your employees first and never stop learning. If you do these things, you will be sure to find success in this rewarding career.

Now that you know some tips for succeeding as an automotive manager, put them into practice! If you implement these tips, you will be on your way to becoming a successful young manager. Keep up the good work, and don’t forget to keep learning and growing in your role. Before you know it, you will be an expert in the automotive industry!

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and colleagues! Thank you for reading.

Looking for more tips on how to succeed as a new dealership manager? Check out our articles for more helpful tips, or enroll in one of our online automotive management courses!

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