Owners & Managers: How Are You Perceived?

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Hey, this is Matt. Thanks for tuning in. On today’s episode, we have a quick riff in which we talk about the importance of understanding how you are perceived as the owner, and I can tell you personally, I never spend any time understanding. I thought we’re all on the same team, right? 

So we can talk and over we want. I never realized that that’s not how your employees think about you. 

You are the division head, you are the manager, you might be the owner, and you have to represent yourself that way, and sometimes you have to tighten up what you’re saying. You have to adjust your words, and you have to do it with more tact. We cover it on this quick riff of Today’s Driving Success Podcast. I hope you like it. 

Do us a favor and share it and comment. Tell your friends about it. This podcast is for the transportation industry. It’s to help transportation companies run better businesses. We’ll see you down the road. Hope you enjoy this one.

Previously on Driving Success podcast.

Do more structured team events. We call it a scrum. It happens every Monday. We have department meetings with the groups as well. You need to do a scrum every week. We used to do it every day in here for three years. 

Every day we did the CFF morning scrum. You can even see it on our YouTube channel. They’re an opportunity to get the team together, a new initiative, a contest, celebration, rewarding. It happens at the scrum. You need to bring your people together. 

By the way, what if you’re saying, “Yeah, but my people are all over the country driving our trucks. What if you did a zoom call?” They will feel part of the organization that solves some of your hiring and firing and management problems because one of the problems we have in transportation is your your employees, your drivers, they feel alone on an island.

I believe that core values and culture fix 90% of the chaos that exist in your business. When you lock down your culture and your core values, your hiring problems go away. Your firing problems go away. Your managing problems go away. Your branding issues go away. Your core values in your culture get you off the hamster wheel that 99% of the 25 million small business owners in America are on. 

It’s like, what fire am I putting out today? Who’s going to let me down today? What problem is going to start the minute I turn the key and go into the office? And I lived that stuff every day, and it wasn’t for a year. It was for probably 15 of our 25 years in business. I lived like that. 

Core values need to be no more than four. That’s my opinion. No more than four core guys. They start with a word, 

You’re going to go to the link in this podcast, and you’re going to download a series of words if this matters to you, and it should. And you’re just going to read the words and then put a check mark next to the word that resonates with you. 

Maybe it’s not happiness. Maybe it’s revenue. Maybe it’s profit. Maybe it’s notoriety. Maybe it’s influence. It really doesn’t matter what words you pick. I just want you to go through this list of words and put a check mark next to the words that matter to you.

 And when you do the exercise you may end up with 12 or 15 words that have a check next to it, and then your job is to screen that, to cull that list and get it down to four.

The last few episodes, we’ve been talking about the importance of company culture, and core values, and how do you put them into play, and why are they so important, and what does it look like when you get it right? But I think there’s an element that most owners never, ever, ever think about. That is how your employees perceive you. 

You’d never look at it like this and I never used to look at it like this. I never understood how, as the boss, people, even with a good culture, and teamwork, and comradery, and transparency, they still look at you differently than they look at their coworkers, and you as the owner, and the manager, and the department head, you need to get a handle on this.

You really need to understand this. I’ll give you a perfect example. We have a VP of sales in our office who runs our sales department. But if I drop in and I say to one of our brand new sales guys, “Hey, I heard you on that phone call. I think it’d be interesting if you approached it this way.” And I say to myself, “Good job, boss. You just helped this guy, right? You gave him a new strategy. 

You’ve only been on that phone call a thousand times before and you just help this guy.” Well, you don’t know that you just helped this guy. In fact, he may hurt the guy. He may be like, “Man. Did the boss think I’m doing something wrong? Am I screwing up? Why did he come over and talk to me? Should I be worried about this?”

You walk off and go to lunch and you think you just saved everybody’s a world by dropping a nugget of success on this guy. Then you know what he does here? He talks to the next guy in the cubicle next to him. The guy says, “Hey, man. You’re doing something wrong. The boss is after you.” None of that was your intention, but that’s how it plays out. Then you know what happens? Three people end up talking about it ends up going to the sales manager, who ends up going to his boss, who ends up coming to you saying, “Hey, don’t do that anymore.” 

You’re like, “Do what?” “Don’t drop those comments in out of the blue like that.” “What are you talking about? I’m just trying to help everybody.” “Yeah, but you’re not helping anybody, boss, because you’re the boss and you don’t even realize you’re the damn boss.”

I’m not kidding on this topic. I’ve been in business 25 years and it took me 24 years to understand this. It started by me going to a conference and I heard the human resources manager from Netflix talk about this. She said you have no idea how much damage you do to your organization as the boss when you think you’re doing well. 

By the way, this isn’t for the owners, this is for any department head. You manage people, this matters to you. I want to offer this up to you as a way to assist when you think you’re doing something beneficial to the person or the organization when in reality you may not be doing it.

The first thing you have to do is, again, get tied on this culture and these core values is a deep layer of transparency part of it. Do you have the freedom to communicate with people like that? How hard are you to the org chart, to the order of the organization, and therefore you breaking rank? It happens. I know. It happens because of speed, it happens because you want to help, it happens maybe because you are a butt head sometimes. It does happen. But it creates a lot more shrapnel than you think if it’s not set up properly. So, connected to the core values and the mission statement, is that level of transparency part of who your company is.

The second piece is before you just jump in and do it off of your gut feel, slow your roll. Think about it for a minute. Think about what you’re about to say. Think about your words before you say them. Here might be a suggestion. “Hey, that was a good call. Are you interested in making that call even better?” “Sure. I’d love to hear that. “Great. I have one little strategy for you. It was so good, but here’s just one tweak. 

If you just added this to that, or you said it slightly differently, or your voice inflection changed, you may have had a different result. Now, did that help you?” “Yeah. Thanks boss.” “Okay, cool. Listen, if you need anything else, just let me know. I appreciate what you’re doing.” Finish with a compliment and then move on. Totally environment versus you drop it in and saying, “Hey man, let me tell you how that call should have been handled. This is the way you need to be doing that, not the way you were doing it,” and you didn’t even realize what shrapnel you just caused.

Quick little takeaway, quick little riff on the podcast as we’re continuing this series of culture and core values, and now you’re getting a better understanding of how you’re viewed as the boss in the organization. And don’t take that lightly, man. You are the magician of entrepreneurship. You are the keeper of the culture. Most of us, myself included, have no idea the impact that we have on the organization because we think everybody looks at it like us and it’s just not true, because you the boss. 


You’re in charge of these people. Hell, some of you sign the damn paychecks. You don’t even realize what that does, man. It’s a big responsibility to be the boss. Don’t take it lightly. Get good at leadership, get good at management, get good at core values and mission statement, and I promise you it makes all the damn difference if you do it better. It’s not an expert. It’s not a finish line. It’s a constant movement. It’s the language of business. It’s getting better, and better, and better.

Now, we need something from you. We need you to comment. We need you to like. We need you to subscribe. We need you to share. 

Tell your colleagues, tell your fellow drivers, the people that are in the industry who are trying to get their business off the ground or have a business and wanted to go to the next level, tell them about The Driving Success Podcast powered by Commercial Fleet Financing. I’m your host, Matt Manero. I’m here with you on the ride. We will see you down the road.

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