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Communication is the key to successful shop managment

Educational Seminars Institute (ESi) Provides Automotive Management Solutions for all types of Repair facilities located across the USA.

The one thing that all the repair shops I visit seem to have in common is the lack of effective communication. This lack of communication affects everyone from the technicians to the customers. As the owners and managers we can’t understand why our employees can’t read our minds. We expect certain things to be done in a certain way but we never communicate what we want done or how we want it done.

Our expectations are not met because we do a poor job of explaining what we want. For any shop to be profitable we need open honest communication from all parties involved. The technicians need to feel comfortable in speaking their minds on any subject. The managers & owners have to take this information as business and not take it personally. The number of employees that will not speak honestly to their employers is astounding. When ask why the employees will not talk with the boss most feel that they are not listen to or their ideas taken seriously.

I feel their are four basic reason most people will not speak up and voice their opinion or ideas.

1. The fear of being wrong. Most of our employees have a low self worth and for years have been told they are not smart enough or talented enough to be successful. Most of our employee have great ideas but feel we will not be receptive to their ideas.

2. The fear of ridicule . if the employees never express their ideas no one can ever belittle them. It is human nature for everyone to desire acceptance from our peers.

3. The fear of being found incompetent. By expressing their thoughts and ideas some employees are afraid that they will display the limit of their knowledge. Many employees project a higher level of knowledge than they really posses.

4. The fear of confrontation. If the employees speaks up and the owner or manager disagrees with the statement. The manager or owner then belittles the employee or raise there voice to over power the employees by intimidation.

So many times our idea of effective communication is to yell or intimidate our employees into our way of doing things. Most cases they haven’t met our exceptions because we haven’t communicated our expectations.

We have address some of the ways we don’t communicate well let’s discuss ways to communicate better. One of the best ways to establish good communication is to hold regular scheduled meetings. Some shops have a meeting every week others BI-weekly some monthly. The main thing is to meet on a regular basis. This meeting has to be a non confrontation type. Open honest communication will improve the relationship between you and your employees. Write down all the main points of each meeting and then report on the outcome or decisions made at the beginning of the next meeting. Be sure to give consideration to all ideas and comments. Have the employees research and present their findings for any equipment’s or suppliers they may want or need.

Any rules, regulations or policies you want your employees to follow must be in writing. Any verbal instructions you give an employee the most effective way to be sure that the employee understands is to ask the employee to repeat your instructions in their own words back to you. Remember that your instructions must complete and concise. Do not rush the instructions. When possible give the instruction in writing. Be sure to include the time frame to complete the task and the source of any additional information they might need. Be sure to provide POSITIVE reinforcement during the task.

Remember that as the leader of the business YOU must accept partial responsibility for any problem in the shop mostly due to poor communication. Please let me know if I can help you with any of your Shop Management Issues


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