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Joe Marconi

Shop Owners: You don’t have to answer every question for your employees

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As shop owners, we sometimes feel that we need to answer every question and handle every situation. While you need to be proficient as a business owner, you also need your employees to think for themselves. 

Empower your people to solve problem.  Ask them for their opinions and don’t be too quick to jump in on every situation.  The more you jump in and solve their problems, the more they will rely on you. This is not to say you don’t have their back; but a team functions best when everyone takes ownership of their position and takes responsibility to take care of problems.

Will employees make mistakes? Yes.  But there isn’t a shop owner on this planet that has a perfect record at making decisions.  We all make mistakes.

As a shop owner; teach, mentor and coach.  Include your employees in on decisions that relate to their job position.  When employees feel you trust them, they will begin to solve their own problems. This will set you free to work on the things that will bring you greater success.

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Great post. This drives me crazy. I have a couple of techs that are great parts swappers, but couldn’t diagnose problems that are more involved than a noisy wheel bearing.... I’ve encouraged them to learn more. Explained that the more they can do, the more valuable they will be $$$. Even offered them raises to complete some training. Nothing... I just cannot relate, as I am always trying to better myself and the things I do. So when they run into a sticky situation, I feel like I have to step in. If I don’t, it’s usually throw parts at it until something works. I guess they are content not making more money for a little extra effort.... I don’t know.

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I know how frustrating it can be when you cannot rely on your employees to think on their feet and solve problems.  However, the truth is, if you are the only one in your business that can solve problems. your business will by limited by your talents and abilities. No team or organization can be successful for the long term if it relies on one person.  If you cannot get your employees to progress and contribute, it may be time to find new employees.

Now, with that said, the problem may be that because you are so good at what you do, you tend to step in too much. After a while, your techs stop thinking on their own and look to you for the answer.  You become their crutch.

I know you are making an effort, but they need more. Also, money is not the prime motivator. Praise, recognition and encouragement are the prime motivators. 

Show your techs the process, teach them the logical approach to a problem.  Have them make small mistakes and praise any movement in the right direction.  Celebrate any small win. In time, the wins will get bigger and bigger.

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