Inspire Confidence in Your Employees
As she sat down in the classroom seven years ago—the only African-American woman in the room, surrounded by collision repair professionals from all over the world that had years of experience over her—Adrian Wright didn’t feel one bit intimidated.
She felt confident.
“I learned how to manage a team of men, how to assign work, how to communicate with vendors, how to speak with customers,” says the owner of Wright One Paint and Body Shop in Augusta, Ga. “I brought my corporate background into collision and it works.”
Senior-level leaders not only know how to lead, but also how to stimulate leadership qualities in their employees. Thus, transitioning from managing in a corporate atmosphere to her father’s shop, Wright sought to bring along systemized processes that not only provided for continuous improvement, but also inspired employees to follow the confidence she displayed as a leader.
Sometimes that’s a long road. In 2011, Wright rehired an employee that, just three years earlier, was too immature and self-consumed to carry out his roles as an estimator. But after taking him back, coaching him on multitasking, outlining the shop’s selling procedures, and pushing him to take more pride in his work, he became one of Wright’s top managers as the $3.3 million, 12-employee shop expanded to a second location.
Whether it requires multiple years of workshopping or a simple one-on-one conversation, Wright has outlined specific processes that don’t just give instructions, but allow for freedom, for employees finding their own rhythm, as well. For example, each CSR and estimator at her shop receives a call script that is rewritten as they make and answer phone calls. In fact, Wright will sit with them while they converse with customers and provide on-the-spot notes.
“They say it’s intimidating in the beginning,” Wright says. “You can be nervous, but you have to get it to where it’s natural, no matter who’s around. And that trains them to be confident.