When it comes to associate development at America’s Car-Mart, it’s all about inspiring greatness in our associates, our teams and our company. That’s why the company has initiated a leadership course for its general managers called the Leadership Development Series.
“At Car-Mart, we value associate growth and development. Our associates are the most important part of our business, and it’s our responsibility to provide them with opportunities to grow and thrive in their careers at Car-Mart,” says Ryan Human, Director of Associate Development. “Often, we just look at policies and procedures and the science side of things. With our leadership training, we want to develop people by looking at the art side with the goal of creating a better work environment for our associates.”
The purpose of the Leadership Development training is to provide the tools and framework that will enhance the effectiveness of the company’s general managers as leaders. Additionally, the training focuses on the everyday situations that managers are likely to encounter in the workplace. The training started in late 2021 and will continue in 2022 for general managers, corporate office leaders, assistant managers and future managers.
Additionally, the leadership training complements the company’s Future Manager training program, which features all facets of operating a Car-Mart store including inventory management, purchasing, vehicle maintenance, merchandising, collections, sales, customer service and customer engagement.
Building high-performance teams
“We looked at our business and determined what we needed in our leaders and how leading is connected to our company’s culture,” says Ryan. “We also looked at the role of the general manager to determine the characteristics, qualities and traits that are necessary for ultimate success.”
Based on the priorities and needs of the company, the curriculum of the Leadership Development Series training focuses on the ideals that promote teamwork and results, including:
- Managerial Courage
How to manage challenging situations – problem-solving, making tough decisions, having difficult conversations, and providing constructive feedback. Managerial courage is dealing with people, problems and situations head-on.
- Interpersonal Skill Building
Why interpersonal skills are important to leadership – active listening, effective communications – verbal and nonverbal, rapport building and collaborating. Strong, purposeful communication enables leaders to foster meaningful relationships with their team, engage and motivate their employees, as well as navigate setbacks.
- Leading Through Others
How to inspire, influence and motivate others to act – delegating, empowering, showing compassion and understanding other perspectives. Effective leadership is understanding emotional intelligence, as well as recognizing and rewarding associates.
- Managing Transitions
How to lead through change – turning resistance into commitment and inspiring team members to take ownership of change. A successful leader must understand the change process, how people move through that change, and then lead their people through the change process.
“By equipping our managers with these skills, it allows them to successfully tackle challenging situations,” says Colten Harris, General Manager Trainer. “This allows us to transition to higher levels of success and deliver a better work environment.”
The four-week course is designed for small groups (of five to eight people) to allow for more interaction, discussion and deeper learning and retention. Students can role-play [actual work situations] and get instant feedback.
Greater confidence, smarter decisions, better outcomes
“At Car-Mart, we are continually striving to be our best at what we do each day. We want our leaders to thrive so their teams can thrive. When we’re better leaders, it’s a better experience overall for all associates, as well as for our customers,” Ryan says.
“As our company grows and evolves, and as we take on new challenges, so must our leaders,” adds Colten, while adding the leadership training will help us live up to the company’s vision – to be America’s best auto sales and finance company in the eyes of our associates and customers while improving the communities we serve.
“We’re committed to building a business that lives up to our company’s vision and to do that we depend on our highly skilled and committed associates,” concludes Ryan. “Bottom line, through the Leadership Development Series, we want to give our leaders greater confidence in their leadership abilities so they can make smarter decisions and experience better outcomes.”
Join our team!
If you want to come work for a company that values associate training and development, come work at America’s Car-Mart. Go to Car-Mart.com/careers to learn about job opportunities at Car-Mart in our 12-state area.