Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

Professional Community for Car Dealers, Automotive Marketers and Sales Managers

Loading... Be Patient!

A member of my team sent this picture to me this morning:

For those of you with direct reports, how important is it to your department that you are seen as the "leader" as opposed to the "boss?" Is there ever a case that being the "boss" is beneficial, or is it always a detriment to the productivity of your team? Would your department see a change in productivity or efficiency if you assumed one role over the other?

I'm curious to hear from some professionals in an industry that prides itself on phrases like "it's the car business, you have to have thick skin" and "if you don't like it there's the door" management styles. Clearly the graphic is designed to praise a "leader," but is this management style really a good fit for the auto industry? Is this depiction of a "leader" really a weak manager in application?

What do you think, should an automotive manager be a "leader" or a "boss?"

Views: 408


Oops... You need to stop "Lurking" on ADM and become a more genuine Automotive Professional by completing your membership registration. As a registered ADM Member, you can post comments, publish your own articles (be a star!) and start Forum discussions. Stop being an online "Peeping Tom" and JOIN ADM RIGHT NOW!

Join Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

Comment by Brian Bennington on January 5, 2014 at 5:07pm

Hey Micah, A dynamite cartoon, both really funny and educational.  Hope your Dad sends you more of them.  But, what's ironic is your cartoon can be just as effective educating some in management about "softening" their style as Tom's reprinting of Chip Diggs' post.  And, honestly, I've heard, read, and witnessed so many well-intentioned corporate platitudes saying the same basic things, I visualize the top execs in a company sitting around writing them, when one jumps up and says, "Show them the way and help them attain their goals...."  Then, everyone in the room busts out laughing!  (I know, I know, thats mighty cynical.)

But, it's only because I learned managers, like everyone, are different and, in most cases unique.  Plus, people in general don't like to be reminded or instructed about changing their behavior.  (Frank said it all when he belted out "I've gotta be me.")  What they do like to hear, though, are the things that people universally want to hear.  That's admiration and reassurance.  An exaggerated, simplified example is, "People like to hear how great they are and that they're going to live forever."  Starting there and with practice, you can trim them down to an effective, believable truth.

So, while the overview here seems to be "leader/boss/management" enlightenment, I'd tell those who work for someone, and most all of us do, don't ever expect any change out of your boss.  What you see is what you get.  Make your judgement from that and adjust accordingly.  If their positives outweigh their negatives, count your blessings.  If not, thoughtfully, patiently and systematically plan your next move.  In the meantime, practice convincingly expressing to your boss how inspirational, considerate, knowledgable, etc. (whatever fits) they are and how valuable they are in their position.  That works for bosses talking to their employees, too, and it's a powerful tool when used to help build your customer relationships.    


Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 5, 2014 at 12:14pm

Well said above by Chip Diggs . . .

1. Manage your processes - The key here is to hold people accountable.

  • 2. Coach your people - Don't berate and chastise; show them the way and help them attain"their" goals.
  • 3. Lead your team - People love to follow people they respect.   Have a game plan and make sure everyone on your team is part of that plan.  Show them their roll and how important they are to the overall success of the team.
Comment by Micah Birkholz-1:16Digital Media on January 4, 2014 at 8:43pm

My father just shared this with me the other day... thought it was appropriate to share...

Comment by Eric Hinkle on December 26, 2013 at 2:32pm

The subject and graphic very well may have been seen and written about before, but that doesn’t mean the matter is stagnant.  Things change all the time including intangible issues.  There are communities of individuals and groups that claim they were ‘just born that way’.  There are clear similarities and differences associated with being a boss and/or leader.  Some bosses are a product of blood association.  Some bosses know how to weather many storms.  Some bosses are great leaders.  Some bosses are certainly dead weight.  Is there something more to this or are we strictly a product of our upbringing and environment (as it pertains to leadership)?  As stated earlier, things change.  Being born to lead may not simply be a hypothesis any longer. 

Recently, scientists from the University College London identified a genotype, called rs4950, which appears to be associated with the passing of leadership ability down through generations.  According to the results, the research involved analyzing genetic data from two large American health studies, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the Framingham Heart Study.  The scientists wrote: "Our study takes a first step towards providing new insights into the fundamental origins of leadership emergence by studying genetic variation as a possible source of leadership role occupancy.  We estimated that about a quarter of the variation in leadership role occupancy is heritable." 

The report also states that the genome isn’t the only factor that creates a leader.  Upbringing, environment and education are also considered. I agree with Brian (Bennington) very much; assuming you’re smarter than everyone else is a mistake.  We have all listened to the colleague that criticizes the boss endlessly.  That person always knows more and has all the best ideas.  That person generally has never accomplished anything but whole sentences.  It’s a fine way to alienate who you believe may be ‘your’ audience.  It may be time to take a look around the Member Directory and reevaluate your position.  I’m looking for what you’ve done – not what you’ve said.  Emoticons are precious but don’t get it done. Part of being a leader is earning the respect of those you are charged with leading.  It isn’t accomplished by undermining your boss or writing in a forum how much smarter you are than that person.  With respect to rs4950, leadership may well be something inherited and not subjugated. 

For the most part - the responses were thoughtful and well positioned.  I congratulate those of you that can accomplish this feat without pounding on your chest at the same time.  Doing so is a true trademark of leadership and enjoy reading your comments.

Comment by Chip Diggs on December 21, 2013 at 6:19pm

No one likes to be “bossed” around especially the up and coming new breed of automobile sales consultants.  More importantly, being a leader is being a leader regardless of whether you are in the car business or not.  Here's how we try to run our dealerships and our people seem to respond well.

  • 1. Manage your processes - The key here is to hold people accountable.
  • 2. Coach your people - Don't berate and chastise; show them the way and help them attain"their" goals.
  • 3. Lead your team - People love to follow people they respect.   Have a game plan and make sure everyone on your team is part of that plan.  Show them their roll and how important they are to the overall success of the team.
Comment by Brian Bennington on December 18, 2013 at 7:55pm

Ryan, my friend (and I hope you are my friend), Your pride in your team speaks well of you.  For you to talk openly about how hard your team works is an outstanding example of your generosity as a leader, which I believe is a key component of true, positive management.  While I wasn't as artful as you in describing the many hats a good boss/leader must wear, my "He's my boss, He's my leader" analogy is in full agreement with Tom and you.  I think it's grand when we all see "eye-to-eye"!  

Comment by Tom Gorham on December 18, 2013 at 7:51pm

Ryan, thank you.  I'm still in recovery stage but progressing everyday.  Can't wait to get back up to speed and be better than ever! 

Comment by Ryan Leslie on December 18, 2013 at 2:25pm

Thoughtful post as always Tom! I tried not to taint the responses to the graphic by giving my opinion, but I agree with you. The reality of the role of a manager is that they need to be versatile enough to be a "leader" and a "boss" and sometimes wear the hat of a cheerleader, disciplinarian, counselor and psychiatrist too. They also need to be smart enough and savvy enough to recognize when to wear each of those hats in order to accelerate business. Thanks for adding your input... (How are you doing by the way?)


It was meant as a compliment, I suppose I should have mentioned that. I have the hardest working team on the Vendor side of the business and am fortunate that I get to be a "leader" as depicted most of the time.

Comment by Brian Bennington on December 18, 2013 at 12:31pm

Ryan, thanks for taking time to share your concerns.  Looking at the illustration and then reading your post, I'm curious why a member of your team would send it to you?  Hope it's not a situation like putting a bottle of mouthwash on a manager's desk because they have bad breath?  When I saw the "Are you a Boss or a Leader" title, for some reason my mind flashed to the scene in "Chinatown" were Faye Dunaway kept mumbling to Jack Nicholson, "She's my sister, she's my daughter, she's my sister, she's my daughter...."  It's like "He's my boss, he's my leader, he's my boss, he's my leader...."  I think it's something that can change day-to-day, often depending on outside influences (including if the boss got "lucky" the night before.)

While I agree with Alexander this topic has been previously covered, I'd advise him that "broadcasting" his superior knowledge can be dangerous, especially if his boss knows it, and suffers from "Boss Insecurity," or (BI), an extremely common malady in today's business environment, often resulting in many they see as "challengers," being fired.  And after all, 85% of business success is predicated on how well you get along with people (including bosses), not what you know.

Tom Gorham's experienced and balanced observation about the "....many different styles of management as there are management positions" says it all.  My only question is how he knew the leader in the picture leading the reps is a rep himself?  (Hey Tom, How'd you know that?)  There was a great book about "How to make your managers work for you" out years ago, and it sounds like this might be a good time for a reprint.

Matt, I couldn't believe a guy as sharp as you needs to have a picture close by to remind you of anything about being a leader?  I know it works, though for me not all of the time, as I have a large picture of a penis taped on my monitor to remind me not to be one.  I would suggest you stop with the sports analogies, though.  They've been terribly overused and are boring.

Personally, and from a working rep's position, my only comment would be to remember who you work for, which I've always believed is the customer.  Regardless of what happens and what kind of boss you have, with some forethought and follow-up, you can "own" your customers and take them with you if leaving becomes necessary.  

Comment by Tom Gorham on December 18, 2013 at 8:07am

There are certainly as many different styles of management as there are management positions.  Over the years, we've pushed the leader shown at the bottom of the graphic as being the ideal.  But the best salesman is not always a good choice for manager. 

This graphic is misleading in that it depicts the "Boss" as being a dead weight, but he could have been depicted as standing at the front or side of the employees encouraging and urging them forward to the destination he has chosen through experience and vision as being best for the company.  He is leading and lighting the way.

Over the years, some of my best "bosses" have been people who inspired me to do my best.  They may not have been super-salesmen themselves but they could help create super-salesmen in their team.  And sometimes, a great manager or "boss" inspires employees to lead and excel on their own, as Alexander said below.

ADMPC is a Network for Car Dealers, Automotive Marketing, Advertising and Management Pros sharing Digital Strategies and Execution Tactics.

Please Consider Automotive Marketing Professional Community Sponsors

ADM Badge


Based On Your Interests...

Automotive Marketing Tools

Get ADM Toolbar

Click here to take the ADM Member Survey


Google Automotive Network Targeted Placement Ads

Getting too many emails from ADM? Click mailbox below to control which types of alerts and updates you are sent......


© 2014   Created by Ralph Paglia.

ADM Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service