Valuable insights of the auto
industry and service drives.

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Service Business
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Key Traits of High-Performing Fixed Operations Managers

Key Traits of High-Performing Fixed Operations Managers

Congratulations… You’re it!

Whether your company promoted you from within or you were hired on from another dealer, here you sit. Your name is on the door or a placard across your desk. You are excited about the title and prestige of leading a team. 

You’re ready to positively impact your dealership’s service and parts department. You want to inspire and motivate your team to achieve great results. You are on fire as you step into the position of Service Manager, Parts Manager, Service director, Parts Director, Fixed Ops Director, or whatever title rests beneath your name on that placard.

The various titles all mean the same thing: YOU ARE THE LEADER. With that comes many possible benefits: maybe a bump in pay, the freedom to make decisions, and the ability to implement changes. You are living the dream.

Key Traits of High-Performing Fixed Operations Managers

But the title also comes with great responsibility. Mishandling these responsibilities can cause your dream to turn into a nightmare quickly. Everything that occurs in your department falls on your shoulders. 

The decisions of your team of technicians and service advisors point directly to your ability to lead. The administrative work is already piling up, and you are still determining how to get through it all. You feel like you may never get to the big goals you have for your department.

Take a Deep Breath

You’re here for a reason. Your company leaders saw something in you that convinced them you are the one for this position. Let’s examine the five traits of high-performing fixed ops managers.

Trait 1: Strong Leadership Skills

You didn’t need a title for this one. You were always the one who dropped what they were doing to teach a new tech how to complete a repair. You encouraged and motivated your co-workers to work efficiently and effectively. You lead by example with integrity and enthusiasm for the job. 

When it came to quitting time, you stayed to help complete the long overdue tasks sitting on the back burner. Your communication and decision-making skills are on point, and you’ve always set clear goals for yourself.

You are still that leader, and while the title comes with many worries, it doesn’t change who you are. Designate a specific time each day to position yourself, shoulder to shoulder, with your team. They must see you turn a wrench, break a sweat, solve a problem, and lead by example. But this will only be possible if you are a pro at managing your time, which brings us to the next trait.

Trait 2: Exceptional Time Management

Leaders often need to have a beginning-of-the-week meeting with themselves. Prioritizing tasks and managing the workload requires some self-discussion. In this meeting, you’ll write out your weekly to-do list. The list can be on paper, a dry-erase board, sticky notes, or even a fancy task management app like Trello.

A plan for your tasks will allow you to delegate responsibilities and empower your team members. Delegating with a solid plan or system will prevent frustration and make you seem more capable in front of your team. They are looking to you for guidance; concrete plans and set strategies will allow you to guide them effectively and efficiently.

A leader must also be flexible and able to adapt to changing priorities. Your plan is essential, but it is only a starting point. Your week will seldom go as planned. Being able to change course when needed is imperative for any leader.

Trait 3: Strong Customer Focus

Customer satisfaction is essential for fixed operations success. You know that already, or you likely wouldn’t be in your position. If you want your team to provide top-notch customer service, lead by example. Build relationships with customers, and ensure you do all you can to meet their needs. 

Show that you respect customer complaints and resolve them with urgency. Always handle these problematic situations professionally in front of the customers and in their absence. Venting to your team about an unreasonable or irrational customer gives them unspoken permission to disrespect and dismiss future issues. They need to know that the customer is always important, not just when standing before you.

Trait 4: Continuous Learning and Adaptability

While you’ve reached the top of your department, there is always more to learn.  Intelligent people are typically curious about everything and eager to learn. Make it a priority to stay up-to-date on industry trends and technological advancements. Always stay updated on new tools through industry forums and social media groups. These mediums can offer a multitude of solutions for your service drive.

You should also seek opportunities for professional development and acquiring new skills. While leadership is natural for some, it is also full of skills you can learn. Surround yourself with other strong leaders, and find seminars to help you build on your natural leadership skills.

Trait 5: Effective Team Management

Your ultimate goal as a leader is to build a cohesive and high-performing team. You can do this by providing team members guidance, support, feedback, and mentorship. Strong leaders ask their team about themselves, their families, and their interests. They also seek out each team member’s ideas and solutions. This communication makes the team feel valued and respected, and it’s a great way to find real solutions.

Recognize and reward achievements and foster a positive work culture. Everyone likes recognition for a job well done. Make an asserted effort to track the number of times you compliment or reward each team member. 

It can be easy to focus on the squeaky wheel or the shining star technician that makes your job easy, but you should engage with each team member, from the valet to the service advisor. They are all valuable players, and failure to let them know will have them looking for a new service drive.

Remember Your Purpose

Management and leadership are not fix-it-and-forget-it endeavors. Whether you’ve been leading for ten days or ten years, there is always a new path ahead. The journey is full of new challenges to overcome, with solutions you must work to provide. Cultivating the qualities you already have with ongoing development will keep the job fresh and exciting.

Click here for more fixed ops insights from TVI MarketPro3.

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