If you have ever found yourself feeling less than satisfied in the job you’re doing, then don’t just accept it. There are things you can do to enhance your satisfaction without throwing all the cards in the air and starting over with your workshop or your career. These include not just thinking about your passions but also about your strengths (and your team’s strengths too).
Sometimes we end up working on jobs that we don’t want to be doing: maybe the specific tasks involved don’t satisfy us, maybe the team around us has low morale, maybe we’re engaged in a job that is frequently difficult or often ends in failure.
One thing you can do is to see if you are working from your strengths – those things you are good at and enjoy doing. If you are a manager or workshop owner, you should also look at this across your team. Can you improve your overall business performance by better playing to individual’s strengths?
Focusing on your strengths will help you (and your team) feel healthier and have more energy. Studies reported by Psychology Today have found that strength of character is associated with a number of healthy behaviours including leading an active life, pursuing enjoyable activities, and eating well. It can also help you feel more satisfied with your life. Studies found that individuals who are satisfied with life are good problems-solvers, show better work performance, tend to be more resistant to stress and experience better physical health – these are all invaluable traits to have across your garage workforce.
Psychology Today also published studies showing that using your strengths makes you more confident. Both knowledge of strengths, and using strengths, was significantly associated with improved self-efficacy, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-confidence. The conclusion is clear – people feel more satisfied and experience more meaning in their work when playing to strengths. The result to your business is that employee performance is optimised; repairs are carried out to a high standard and with maximum efficiency.
Gallup analysis reveals that people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life, six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.
Here is a list of example strengths, what are yours and what are the strengths of the team members in your garage? It may help to write them down, perhaps person by person.
- Passion for learning
always knows how to, and loves using the latest technology
- Teaching / mentoring
can readily and effectively share knowledge with others
- Enthusiasm / friendliness
always has a smile, likes working with others; great with customers
never lets anyone down, always does what they say they’ll do
constantly thinks of new ideas and new ways of doing things; solves problems in innovative ways
keeps a clear head and helps keep everyone and everything on track; cools things down before they become issues
can see the bigger picture; knows how to effectively manage time and resources
adaptable and always happy to take on new tasks and do new things
always goes the extra-mile to meet deadlines, won’t stop until the job is done
Once you have a list of strengths written down, you could map specific tasks against them. These might be existing tasks that are already performed – have you got the best people doing them? Or they could be new tasks that will help improve your workshop productivity and support the growth of your business.
For example, have you got someone in your team who would make a perfect mentor? If they are not doing this already, could they be responsible for training apprentices / new mechanics? This could be a good way to motivate them – they would find it rewarding – and your new mechanic would be learning invaluable skills at the same time. Likewise, is one of your mechanics a natural born planner – could they help to manage your garage workflow? Or, could one of your digitally minded / creative mechanics help you to write some blog content or manage your social media?
Managers who focus on people’s strengths rather than weaknesses (when building a team) frequently experience improved team performance and greater success. Studies have found that leaders who focus on the strengths of employees benefit from lower levels of staff turnover, higher levels of productivity, more satisfied customers, and greater profitability.
Don’t forget that strengths may also change over time. For example, many workshop owners open auto repair garages because they love cars, not because they’re business experts. However, as their business success grows, so does their expertise and commercial acumen.