Mirror Evaluation: Leading by Example

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A mirror in a home

The key to leadership is to never stop learning. 

That’s according to Greg Lobsiger, the award-winning owner of Loren’s Body Shop in Bluffton, Ind., who has honed his craft with a constancy of purpose. Loren’s opened in 1951, with Lobsiger joining the family-owned shop in 1985 before becoming its owner in 2000. Last year, the shop did $2.6 million in sales with a staff of nine.

Lobsiger says he believes the qualities and characteristics that make up a successful leader stem from continual perseverance and personal development.

“Don’t ever think you’ve arrived,” he says

From his own experiences to encounters with staff and coaches, he offers the following advice regarding how to evaluate yourself as a leader.

Swallow your pride.

“If you want to improve you’ve got to talk to people smarter than yourself, it’s just the way it is,” Lobsiger says. “That’s what’s been crucial for me.”

He says that  swallowing his pride has been a key part of evaluating himself as a leader. Doing so has not only allowed him to grow his mindset but to also improve his tactics and practices as a shop owner by being open to new ideas.

Have a clear focus.

For Loren’s Body Shop, customer service is at the core of everything Lobsiger and his staffers do. Therefore, it only makes sense that an increased quality in customer experience simultaneously equates to better leadership.

“We’re working on our entire system, from the notification of loss until the customer has the car back in their garage,” Lobsiger says.

To guarantee that customer service is a fundamental part of his business’s growth, Lobsiger leads by stressing the importance of tasks being completed from both an ethical and moral standpoint to his employees, following the mantra, “you can never go wrong by doing it right.”

Embrace extreme efficiency.

Constantly evaluating and reevaluating himself and his company, in addition to creating daily goals through work standards, has been a pivotal part of Lobsiger’s personal and professional success. 

“It’s all problem-solving. A shop owner that doesn’t do that is in really, really big trouble, especially right now in this day and age as competitive of a market as it is,” he says. “We’re in a mature business, which means that you’ve got to be extremely efficient, or you won’t survive.” 

Such ideals not only guide how he runs his business but also how he incentivizes employees to strive for more. 

“What is your constancy of purpose?” he asks. “What are you really trying to do here?”

Improve yourself personally.

Lobsiger encourages all shop owners, leaders, and striving employees to take the time to listen to people smarter than themselves and read personal development business books. 

He says the time someone spends outside of work hours thinking and researching is what sets one apart as a leader in the long run. 

“There’s a really really smart guy that’s pretty wealthy who told me a long time ago that, ‘It’s awful hard to get ahead in life when you only work 40 hours,’ and how true that is.”

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