October '19

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62 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2019 W hat does the phrase "being in the trenches" mean to you? If you are like me, it means being involved in the smaller, everyday tasks that make a business run. For shop owners it could be anything like answering the phones, taking orders, emailing customers, selling in the store or on the road, or even installing products when needed. As a leader, it is important that those under our leadership have trust and respect for the path we are taking them on. However, trust and respect can only be earned… you can't pay an employee to trust or respect you or the lead you are taking. So, how can an owner or a manager gain trust and respect? Well, first recognize that these are sepa- rate qualities, and each can be gained (or lost) without the other. The argument can also be made that to be successful, only one of them needs to be gained. Great leaders, though, are able to earn both qualities and thus set themselves up for a better long-term relationship with their employees. I'll illustrate it this way: You have a meeting set up and when the person you are meeting with arrives they look and act very professionally and stay that way throughout your meeting. At this point you may respect them; but would you say you really trust them? Probably not. You really don't know anything about them, their personal lives, their professional history and so forth. In fact, they may be a train wreck of a person that you would never fully trust, but you don't know. The opposite can also be true. One of your best friends comes over to your house uninvited as per usual. He or she starts telling you about all of their recent prob- lems, which in your mind is just a culmina- tion of the last few years of their life. They really need some help and ask you for a small amount of money to help them out and promise to pay you back. You, of course, don't hesitate because you actually trust them and have for a long time. Does that mean you automatically respect them for the trouble they have brought on themselves? Probably not; but again, it is possible to have trust without full respect. BUILDING TRUST & RESPECT Obviously, the ideal goal would be for us to have a trust/respect relationship with everyone, but that is almost impossible because of the limited time and interaction we can have with people. Also, because – flat-out – a lot of people can't be trusted and/or respected! That being said, if you were to ask your employees if they trust you or respect you, what would they say? Would they say yes to one or both? Sometimes self-evaluation can help us to see where improvements are needed. So, how can you improve in the trust/respect area? Work with your employees. Yes, simply doing the everyday tasks alongside them, even if for a limited amount of time, can make great headway in earning trust and respect. Maybe it is working in the office and taking orders and asking about processes and commending good ideas. Another avenue would be to work with the technicians and understand what chal- lenges they are facing on a day-to-day basis. Work for your employees. This could be something like finding the best benefits the company can afford and fighting for those benefits on behalf of your employees. It could also be as simple as you being the one that takes out the shop trash or cleans the bathroom from time to time. Doing something that, in your employees' minds, is at the bottom of the list of things they Trust vs. Respect Most leaders have trust or respect from their employees—but how do you get both? Trust & Respect? or Work with your employees to better understand their processes and challenges. By Josh Poulson

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