How to empower employees to get maximum performance results

Oct. 19, 2020
Your role as owner, manager, or supervisor is to lead and manage your employees to do their work properly and efficiently, and achieve the goals and results you have set for the business.

Relying on our vehicles for transportation is a must in today’s world. Vehicles are best when they function properly on all cylinders, right? Well, our business and our employees that work in and on the business are no different. Working on all cylinders together is a must to achieve the results and goals that you are working toward for your businesses. This month let’s listen to ATI Performance Coach LeAnne Williamson explain how she teaches this to shop owners:  

Everyone is aware that finding the RIGHT hire is difficult. So, when you have the RIGHT employees, you’re in the best position to succeed. The fact is, it’s so much easier to achieve the business results you need with your current employees, than to start over every 60 to 90 days with someone new.  

Another challenge that shop owners face is letting go of day-to-day tasks that they did well in prior roles (technician, service writer, manager, etc.). Instead of working on the business, many shop owners continue to work in the business — because it is easier for them to do the work — and they know it will be done right. If this is how you run your shop, you’ll be handling every task and problem in your shop while your team of employees wait for their next assignment. 

LIMITED TIME OFFER: G.R.O.W. Coaching and Planning Form
To get your employees started toward working on all cylinders, simply go to to get ATI’s G.R.O.W. Coaching & Planning Form for a limited time. 

The formula is: Expectations + Observation = Accountability  

Your role as owner, manager, or supervisor is to lead and manage your employees to do their work properly and efficiently, and achieve the goals and results you have set for the business. As a performance coach for ATI, I help many shop owners shift their thinking to achieve their fullest potential. I’d like to share a formula and coaching process I use to assist you in getting your employees running on all cylinders toward achieving your business goals.  

Before we dive into this formula, let me first state that employees are most successful when they have the knowledge and the ability to perform their jobs. They must also have the necessary tools to perform their job, the confidence to complete their assignments, and the desire to perform well and achieve the results you are seeking. Only when these factors are in place can you begin to set Expectations.

As the owner, you are responsible for making sure employees know your Expectations — the goals, behaviors, and performance level you expect from them on the job. As they work to meet the expectations and performance level you desire, you must share your Observations with them by providing feedback weekly, in 15-minute, one-on-one meetings. Through this communication process, you are then able to hold employees Accountable for their performance and provide the guidance, correction, or praise needed. Agreement between you and your employees on performance results is key to your business’s success. Otherwise they will set their own performance goals and behaviors.  

The coaching process I share with shop owners is called G.R.O.W.

The G.R.O.W. process will give you a framework that will assist you in setting the expectations, goals, behaviors, performance, and follow-through with the feedback to hold your employees accountable for their work. Here’s how it works: 

  1. G – Goals: Again, employees must know what you expect from them (goals, behaviors, performance). Job expectations must be communicated in one-on-one meetings, so that they are not left open to interpretation. Be clear about your goals for them and make sure that they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound). Please be sure to work on 1-2 items at a time; too many will be overwhelming, and their focus will be pulled in too many directions. 
  1. R – Reality: Have measurable data to share with them on what is happening right now with their work assignments, behavior, or results. Have facts, examples, specific evidence on what you have observed; be objective, not subjective. 
  1. O – Options: Have your employees brainstorm on what improvements can be made to your shop’s processes and services. What solutions can aid them in improving their performance, behaviors, and goals. Your input may be necessary if they are unable to come up with ideas themselves. Be creative; get many helpful tools from ATI, outside classes, an apprentice/mentor program, and practice sessions. Have fun with this step — remember, work can be enjoyable. 
  1. W – Way Forward to Win: Make an agreement with your employees on how they plan to accomplish their goals. If both parties commit to the process, both parties will reap the rewards. Employees will improve their performance, behaviors, goals, and you will achieve better results for the business. Track and measure to show growth and success by using ATI’s .  

If you think that adopting and implementing these new processes are a lot of work, you’re right. It’s a big commitment to get the performance results you want. Working ON the business is always harder than IN the business. Once you develop the habit of communicating feedback weekly to your team of employees, they will feel like they are a part of the success of the business.  

I know first-hand how making this mindset and operation shift can help your business. My first store manager assignment was to open a brand-new repair shop from the ground up. I was so excited and thrilled. I just knew it would all go so smoothly — and then I got a reality check. The day-to-day chaos took over and I was working IN the business and not working ON the business. I enrolled in a participative management class to assist me in being able to run my location more effectively. That’s where I learned my moment of truth on how to become a better leader.  

Upon my return, I held a team meeting to share what I had learned and how I wanted to move forward with monthly team meetings and weekly one-on-one meetings. I stressed the importance of two-way dialogue and getting feedback. I just knew they would all be excited, but to my surprise, they were not. They just figured it was more work for them to do and there was nothing for them in return. Well, I overcame their objections and we agreed on a plan to move forward and see how the meetings went for 90 days. The monthly meetings ran better than the one-on-ones in the beginning. It took time for the employees to become comfortable in one-on-ones and share feedback with me on how I was doing and how the business could improve. Sharing ideas did not come easily — they had to feel that it was OK to share the truth and not get in trouble for it. Having a flip chart for the meetings and allowing employees to be the authors of their ideas and plans, made it much more exciting. They felt they were a part of the solutions to improving the performance of the business. The one-on-one meetings rarely went past 10 to 15 minutes each week. Staying focused on the subject for discussion is what helped us keep these meetings productive and efficient. 

It took eight months to finally have the formula (Expectation + Observation = Accountability) and the coaching process in place and running smoothly — to the point where employees were running on all cylinders. Together we achieved the results we set for ourselves. Because of the two-way feedback dialogue — my employees aided me in becoming a better leader/manager and they became valued employees — we became a high-performing team together.  

I know you can do the same with your business and your team. Together everyone achieves more. To get your employees started toward working on all cylinders, simply go to to get ATI’s G.R.O.W. Coaching & Planning Form for a limited time. 

About the Author

Chris (Chubby) Frederick

Chris “Chubby” Frederick is the CEO and founder of the Automotive Training Institute. ATI’s 130 full-time associates train and coach more than 1,500 shop owners every week across North America to drive profits and dreams home to their families. Our full-time coaches have helped our members earn over 1 billion dollars in a return on their coaching investment since ATI was founded.

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