Several years ago, a shop owner from New York, called to tell us about issues in his shop. Matters of poor production, and stagnant sales. He was working crazy hours and said he could not take time away from the shop because he was afraid that all would go wrong if he left. He said the last time he took a week off, sales dropped, and he had to spend a week of his time putting out fires. If he needed to leave and pay his team their weeks salary, he would close for a week and pay. Based on his previous experiences, it would cost him less and he would not have to deal with the aggravation.
A Management Success consultant visited his shop, and without the owner realizing he was there observing for a while. Within a short period of time, one employee stood out. His actions were about as far away as you could get from being considered “good for business”.
After acknowledging the shop owner, our consultant asked if he could meet the techs. The first two guys were personable and social. The third one (the one that had been observed) was what we call a “tiger.” When talking with the owner, we addressed a list of issues on how this tech was behaving in the business. The owner was surprised and said, “That is exactly what this guy (the tiger) is like! How did you get that out of a handshake?!” The truth is, his personality traits are not uncommon, we see them frequently.
It took a couple of weeks to work out a careful plan to remove this tiger from his shop because the shop owner was convinced he needed this guy. The day he was let go, we received an enthusiastic phone call. “HE’S GONE, HE’S GONE! I feel l like 100 lbs has been lifted off my shoulders. The lights actually look brighter in the shop and the other techs are smiling and enjoying a positive work environment!” Instantly the shop’s production improved with just two techs. The shop experienced a better month than it had previously with three techs.
It’s amazing how one person in a business can make or break the shop. It’s usually the guy who knows his stuff, he tackles the different jobs, but he does it at a price. This is the guy that puts the owner between a rock and a hard place.
One of the responsibilities of an owner is to create a safe and friendly workspace. People need to get along with each other and they usually do. But you have no chance of creating a good team if you have a tiger in the mix.
Another problem with having a tiger on your team is that it makes recruiting new team members a challenge. Word spreads quickly in this industry. A shop also loses good hard-working, personable techs when a tiger is in the mix. No one wants to work with him, except maybe other tigers. This is not a personality type that you would want to be multiplied!
We have seen this scenario in action. In typical animal style, they will tear up the production lines and make your shop atmosphere miserable. Service managers can’t handle them and ultimately, they drive off the good techs.
Knowing how to hire the right people is essential to your shop’s growth. It is just too painful and costly not to have the best team by your side. Are there too many upsets and noise? Look for the tiger—he’s the one in the bushes with fangs and claws ready to tear down your shop’s efficiency and reputation.
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