By Debbie Holden 21 Nov 2021 5 min read

10 ways to develop your management skills at work


A good manager never stops learning and constantly looks for ways to develop their skills and get the most out of their staff. The automotive industry can provide numerous challenges, whether you’re an engineer, a mechanic or work in sales, so being able to motivate your team and improve communications is vital in order to get results.


Focus on relationships with former colleagues

Gaining promotion ahead of some of your colleagues can be awkward, but a good manager should be able to build a different sort of working relationship to ensure there are no issues.

A good way to do this is by holding a group discussion with the staff in question to talk about your new roles and responsibilities and how they can benefit from the changes. You can also hold one-on-one meetings with specific team members if necessary to talk about the changes in a more in-depth manner.

Maintain a positive demeanour and let your team know you are open to their ideas and input, offer support when required and encourage engagement to keep your staff happy and motivated.

Continue to be yourself – even though your duties have changed there is no need to treat people differently, whether it be trying to be more authoritative or trying hard to make sure people like you, it can have an adverse effect.



Try to understand what your team wants and what drives each individual.

Getting the best out of your staff is difficult if you don’t know what motivates them, so continual engagement is a must to boost productivity. It is important that employees know that you appreciate their input and it is taken on-board.



Staying on the subject of engagement, If you want to increase sales, then it is a good idea to establish what pushes your team to succeed, whether it’s financial incentives or a competitive task, you will only know by talking to each member of staff on a personal level. Discussing options with them as a group too can bring you all together to reach a mutual goal.



Some employees are not concerned about securing the highest salary but stay in a job purely because they like the people they work for. A successful manager shows gratitude and praises good work, ensuring their staff feel valued. Just because you’re a manager doesn’t mean you can stop being human – give thanks to those who are willing to go the extra mile for you. A lack of retention at many companies comes down to staff not feeling valued enough where they work – make gratitude a key element of how you manage your team. 


Admit when you have made an error

Admitting your mistakes can go a long way in making you a better manager. A good leader can realise when they have got something wrong and act accordingly to make a positive change. Team members will respect you more if you can admit you are in the wrong, and by showing humility you will be considered more approachable to those who could end up making mistakes in the future.

Acknowledging when you have made an error will also encourage your staff to do the same.


Learn to tackle problem employees

There are numerous ways to approach a problem employee before a situation becomes toxic. A good manager will be able to spot a potential issue and take preventative measures.

Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the person in question to determine the source of the problem. If it is apparent that the issue is of a professional manner, then it is up to you as the manager to resolve it. It is also sensible to to hear the situation from another perspective, so talking to the rest of the team, privately in an open and direct manner can help you gain more perspective e.g. if they were late to work numerous times that you were absent, or if they are slacking off when managers aren’t around.

If the problem is a professional matter, then you should discuss how it can be resolved and issue a warning that action could be taken should it persists. If the issue is personal, then try to offer the best advice possible and be flexible to help them overcome the problem.

Keep on top of the situation and arrange follow up meetings until there is no longer an issue, if it is apparent that no progress is being made then the only possible solution may be to let the person go, as a last resort.


Be a great communicator

It sounds simple, but a manager should communicate well, and often. Make sure the message you want to put across to your team is clear, and be confident that everyone in the team understands. If you speak to the team as a group and you feel the message wasn’t fully grasped, simply send out a follow up email or chat to people individually in case they have questions they prefer to ask in private.


Improve the working environment

Creating a fun working environment can be one of the best ways to boost productivity and reduce staff turnover. When you enjoy your job and spending time with the people you work with, you are more likely to stay.

Garages and workshops are well known for their banter and practical jokes, so it is important not to take yourself too seriously, however, staff must know that there is a limit and a laugh and joke should not impact the job at hand. A manager must strike a balance between a fun workplace and one that is highly productive.


Retain your best employees

A top performing employee will always be in high demand and on the lookout for opportunities. Losing a good team member can be extremely costly, not only in lost sales, but also in the cost of recruitment fees.

Sometimes a person is just looking for a new challenge, but there are numerous ways to persuade them to stay.

Pay them a wage that their performance deserves – most people leave their job in search of a better salary, so research what your competitors are offering and match it as best you can.

Keep them interested and challenge them, when a person gets bored, they are more likely to consider their options, so think of ways to continually push them. You can also train them in other parts of the business to expand their role and workload.

Prove to them that the company has a long term vision and is looking to grow, as another reason an employee can choose to leave is if they feel the firm has hit a ceiling and there is a lack of progression. Employees want to feel that they have made an impact on the business as a whole and are appreciated.


Personal Branding

Finally, it is important you establish a positive image of yourself in the mind of others, this can be described as personal branding. If your team look at you as being confident, in control and good at your job, then you are more likely to have a greater influence over them and will face less opposition in tricky situations.


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