Running a Successful Service Department takes a 'Gutsy' Service Manager     

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Successfully running an automotive dealership service department requires a manager who isn't afraid of making tough decisions. A manager who doesn't hesitates to deal with difficult issues - whether it is the absence of a desirable solution or the knowledge that no decision will be acceptable by everyone. Rather, the gutsy service manager is one who does not hold back but endeavors to overcome any managerial obstacles to maximize the dealership's success. Gutsy service management is about confident leadership - i.e., an understanding of proven tactics by which a manager can confront that inner wimp and instead highlight that inner hero. Clearly, a service manager practicing gutsy leadership is the key for running a successful service department today - a leader who understands that with responsibility comes tough decisions and hard work.

Some of the challenges that often cause service managers to delay reaching their full potential are a lack of useful data, no long-term perspective, and the inability to see beyond the day-to-day. As a manager, focusing more on the long-term objectives they and the other dealership management staff are critical for success. More often than not, it's the gutsy manager who first takes the risks other managers won't. The most important principle in dealership management, especially service department management, is developing and demanding a game plan to confront reality. In other words, it's about being objective about the current state of things that is the cornerstone of gutsy leadership. You have to focus on the things you need to improve - the things you ignore but your customers can clearly see.

Many service managers, especially if they have been in their job for a while, convince themselves they are doing good work and become reluctant to see the need for change and just do not see the urgency of doing things differently. The gusty service manager, however, is one who creates a culture that says we are never done improving - we always need to look for the weak link and the new idea.

If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing our Founder and President Randy Johnson speak, be sure to register to attend one of our monthly webinars. Randy demonstrates in his keynote presentations at manufacturer service and parts events what it takes to be a gutsy service manager and the steps to take for service department success. He shows how things like properly staffing, operational efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation can make any service manager unstoppable. In leading any implementation plan, understanding the need to clear up any sloppiness, duplication, complexity, and bureaucracy in the organization while also demanding accountability and decisiveness is key in effective dealership service department management.

Excellence can only come with gutsy leadership. One of the most important responsibilities of great leadership is the ability to make clear decisions about strategy, talent, resources, and other various critical issues. Often, these decisions must be made in volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous conditions, which requires instinct and courage. Leadership is not about making friends, it's about doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. Gutsy leadership is about change and the need to jump on new ideas. Strong performers typically excel at this; less talented folks tend to be not as energetic, courageous and creative.

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