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Executive View: Too many leaders, not enough leadership

Starting a new exclusive series with AM-online, Dr William Holden, chairman of Sewells, will provide his monthly Executive View sharing insights into people and performance management to help automotive retail leaders to inspire, motivate and guide their dealership teams more effectively.

He told AM: "We, at Sewells, after 59 years of helping to improve performance in the motor industry, are privileged to be asked by AM to be a contributor for the next 12 months in helping businesses and leaders to be the best they can be ."

Here is his first contribution:

Too many “Leaders” and not enough leadership

Being a leader doesn’t make you one! Effective leadership is about inspiring people to do the right things in the right way not posturing and posing.  Brilliant leadership is about getting other people to deliver the right results time and time again, willingly and passionately.

So, the five key things to master to be a great leader are:-

1) People are insecure; give them confidence.

Beneath their façade lie painful memories of past experiences and anxiety over what’s coming their way next. They need to know from you that they can excel in what’s expected of them. Leaders are brilliant at this.

2) People need to feel special; praise them when they do praiseworthy things.

Do it when they least expect it, and make it clear you expect nothing in return. Don’t only wait for the big achievements, point out good progress too.
Leaders have a great ability to read and act upon the invisible sign hanging around every individual’s neck saying “make me feel important/valued/appreciated”.

3) People are looking for a better tomorrow; give them hope.

Let them know that when they put learning and personal development on their priority list, their future can always be better than their past. Leaders help their people see themselves as better, and more able, than they would otherwise see themselves.

4) People need to be understood; listen to them.

The trouble is that this takes more time than most ineffective managers are willing to give. They’re in too much of a hurry to hand out advice, tasks and instructions and move on. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work!
Before your people can be “motivated”, they need to be understood. Leaders are good at this.

5) People need role models; be one.

Too many poor managers are totally unaware of the dire example they set – and the impression that they’re making! Like it or not, what you do, or don’t do, influences the people around you.
In the workplace, people don’t do what they’re told, they do what they see! Leaders have a terrific ability to be brilliant role models – even when they don’t feel on top form.

So now, go ‘back to the floor’, ‘walk the talk’, ‘show them’ how it’s done and experience ‘hands on’ what’s happening in the organisation, find out any issues and engage in your people. 

Your investment in this will yield big rewards for all involved. Let us know how you get on with these, either comment below or email us at


Automotive Management Live 2023







The UK's leading event for motor retailers - Thursday November 9, 2023.

‚ÄčAutomotive Management Live 2023 welcomes motor retail managers from across the UK to discover business improvements, to understand best practice and to network with fellow dealers and suppliers.

Topics this year will include agency business models, the brands now entering the UK new car market, used car stock management and more. It's free to attend, but you'll need to register.

Venue: NEC, Birmingham


Click here for talent & people best practice and procurement insight

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