Leadership, mentorship key in expanding your business in 2021

May 6, 2021
Panelists at Women's Industry Network conference encouraged attendees to focus on what they can control this year

“In order to lead others, you need to be willing to lead yourself,” attendees heard at the virtual Women's Industry Network conference on Tuesday.

Beth Rutter of Tradiebot Industries and co-presenter Amber Ritter of the Collision Career Institute spoke about the ways to propel a collision repair business forward post COVID-19, and it starts with good leadership.

“Start by leading yourself, be personally responsible for the outcome of the whole team and be responsible when you make a bad call,” Rutter said.

While conference sessions like these most often focus solely on business goals, Rutter stressed the importance of leading yourself in all aspects of your life, from career and financial, to family, fitness and spiritual.

“It’s about what you plan to achieve for yourself, and if you don’t know what you want to achieve in your personal life, how can you possibly know what you want your business to achieve?” she asked.

The notion of “leading yourself” also pertains to employees themselves, Rutter explained. A sense of accountability is critical in ensuring success.

“Tell people what the goal is and then get everybody working in the same direction,” she said. “Let people fly on their own to achieve their piece of the grand scheme — you must empower your team to own their own position on the team.”

According to Ritter, other elements of good leadership that can help your business succeed include:

  • make sure you have the right team and if you don’t, make changes fast
  • find out what positions are the best fit for your people
  • determine what motivates your employees and use this to push them to be the best they can be
  • ensure a positive corporate culture with strong core values and no gossip!

MENTORSHIP

Mentorship is the “cornerstone for any successful business” and the most effective way of transferring knowledge, Rutter told conference attendees.

“The mentor who has gone through the school of hard knocks is able to share what they know minus the pain and suffering they themselves experienced,” she said.

She also said a good mentorship program allows the mentee to fail as often as they need in a safe environment.

“In order for the fastest growth to occur, employees need to space to fail fast and fail often."

NEW EMPLOYEES

But before employees are even through the door, your strong leadership needs to be in place. Give new employees shop tours, allow them to do some job shadowing and set up a meeting for them to talk to existing employees, Ritter said.

Once a new employee is selected, get the whole team involved in welcoming them. Have a formal onboarding process, have their workstation ready, and track and build a training plan that goes beyond their first month, she said.

“We all want to be an employer of choice, so now when you have job openings, people are knocking down your door, not the other way around.”