Episode Description

What does great leadership look like in a shop? Where can we find helpful management and leadership training? How do you measure the ROI of management training? This week, we chat with Chuck Searles, Former President of Automotive Management Institute (AMi), about all these topics and more. Enjoy!

Watch The Full Episode

Episode Highlights

Struggles in Management/Leadership

  • Not everyone is born to be a leader, and that’s alright. However, there are training programs out there to help technicians become better leaders.
  • One type of management style will not work for every technician — everyone has different objectives, thoughts, and ways they like to be led.
  • As a leader, you need one-on-one time to just sit down and talk with your technicians. Find the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and figure out how you can help them to succeed.

“There’s a golden rule of leadership: You treat others how you would expect to be treated, but that’s not how to do it. The platinum rule of leadership is that you need to manage people the way they need to be managed.”

Chuck Searles, Former President, Automotive Management Institute (AMI)

Traits of a Strong Leader

  • A good leader needs to be different for different people in different situations.
  • Do what you say you will do. If you follow through with your promises, you will build trust with your technicians.
  • Top qualities of a good leader: Openness, honesty, good listening skills, and trust.
  • Have a mentorship program in place for every new technician. Ensure that you pair mentors to mentees with similar personality traits.
  • There is value in understanding and being vulnerable in your skillset. Leverage your technicians based on their strengths and where they can succeed.

“It’s important to create a culture where failure is acceptable. It becomes a learning experience, and becomes a teaching tool”

Chuck Searles, Former President, Automotive Management Institute (AMI)

Opportunities to Improve Management Styles

  • Be honest in your weaknesses when looking for training or you won’t see the results you want to see.
  • You have to use the things that you learn from training or else you will lose all your knowledge of what you’ve learned.
  • Everyone in the shop should be aware of the training that is going on within all departments of the shop.
  • Shops need to understand each technician’s career goals. Find out what training they want and what their aspirations are for their future in the shop.
  • Technician retention is a good way to track if employee training is effective.

“You don’t have to be great at everything, make sure you understand what you are great at and leverage that, but then also understand what you’re not so great at.”

Jay Goninen, Co-Founder & President, WrenchWay

Training is the Key to Technician Retention

Show Notes


  • Download the free WrenchWay app in the App Store or on Google Play.
  • Check out the podcast Jay & Chuck mention in the episode: Remarkable Results Radio by Carm Capriotto.

About Our Host:

Jay Goninen
Co-Founder & President, WrenchWay
jayg@wrenchway.com | 608.716.2122

About Our Guest:

Charles Searles
Former President, Automotive Management Institute (AMI)

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