7 Qualities Dealership Employees Want To See In Their Manager

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There is an old adage that goes, “Employees don’t quit jobs. They quit managers.” When you think of an ideal manager, what goes through your mind? Is it strong leadership skills? The ability to stay calm in stressful situations? Or, do you cringe just thinking of the egocentric, money-hungry human you see every day? 


A great manager is much more than someone who has a great attitude and encourages your growth in the company. They are a fearless leader who inspires you to work hard and continuously achieve goals.


With so many varied departments in a dealership, you need to have strong management teams running each of them. Service and Fixed Ops Managers, Sales Directors, Dealer Principals, and any mid-level managers all wear different leadership hats to keep things going. They are the engine behind all the operations at a dealership. 

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No matter what the role may be, certain unspoken qualities can make or break a boss at a dealership. Check them out below:

1) Honesty 

It sounds cliche, but honesty is the best policy. When managers (or any supervisor type position) are honest with their employees, it lays the foundation of trust. Employees need to feel confident in who’s running the show, and if there’s any conflict, they wouldn’t be left to solve it themselves. Being truthful is what allows a company to grow and be more successful. Customers walk into dealerships with their guard up, expecting to be ripped off. Top-down management is built on honesty and integrity will show through in your day to day operations. For the most part, your customers can tell when they are being lied to.

2) Perspective 

One distinguishing quality that can truly make or break a great manager is valuing employee perspectives. When employees feel that they can share their opinions or answers to different work-related problems and be heard, they feel valued. A manager that listens to their viewpoint and even put their ideas into action shows compassion, respect, and proves to that employee that their opinion matters.

3) Communication 

 No goal has ever been achieved without clearly communicating the vision and the plan. When there’s no communication in a company, there’s no direction. If you want to get better results, like a new car sales goal or reconditioning cycle time reduction, communication is critical. A skilled manager who communicates the vision and plans with their team will find success from encouraging everyone along the way.

4) Caring 

Employees want to feel like their boss cares about their personal lives because it makes them feel respected. Take the time to find out what they like to do outside of work, whether it’s their hobbies or about their kids. Your team doesn’t want to feel like all they’re needed for is selling and servicing cars.

5) Inspiration

 If you’re running a dealership, you want to be a source of inspiration for your team. Anytime things don’t go according to plan (which happens pretty much every day), your employees will look to you and your management team for guidance. Next time a complication arises, take a look at how the situation is being handled. Stay calm under pressure and fill your team with motivation. If your actions wouldn’t inspire you, then you need to ask yourself, what would?

6) Innovation 

The car industry has changed a lot over the past few years. Because of this, many dealerships have evolved as well. The post-pandemic age presents a whole new way of conducting business at the dealership and connecting with your consumers on social media platforms. A great boss will always be creatively thinking of ways to innovate that will convince customers to choose you for their next car purchase. Find creative ways of getting involved with the community. After all, innovation and creativity are the tools that can help you stand out from your competition.

7) Fun 

When’s the last time you held a fun, organized event at your dealership? Not only are these great ways to connect with the community and potential customers, but it’s always fun to add a bit of variety to the typical workday. Themed events, prizes for achieving goals, or challenges designated to each department are some great ways a boss can turn work into a fun place!

There you have it, 7 qualities that can make or break a great manager at your dealership. There are several more, but these are a few that benefit everyone involved. If your dealership is plagued by high turnover, you may need to re-evaluate your management team, and consider reinforcing these elements in management training.

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