Fleet Maintenance - 8

UPTIME

Are you communicating with
employees effectively?
Tools to help improve communication.

By Erica
Schueller
Editor-in-chief

@FM_Editor

"Communication is difficult because we fear
the outcome," says Maylan Newton, CEO of
Educational Seminars Institute. This is true of
any type of conversation, phone call, or email,
but especially fitting for challenging communication. Expressing conflicting opinions, reprimanding or correcting an associate, or sharing
constructive criticism with a colleague can be
intimidating, if not downright painful. All of
these types of communication can be difficult
in both our personal and professional lives.
Newton established the Educational Seminars
Institute (ESi) more than three decades ago. ESi
provides transportation service and repair facilities with training focused on business development, phone coaching, and service advisor and
service writer programs. I recently listened to
his presentation on "Extreme Communication"
during the HD Repair Forum in early April. He
provided tools to help approach and manage
difficult conversations. Newton says effective
communication can help lower stress levels and
create better leaders.
It's important to take steps to first acknowledge the challenges, and then change your
approach to improve the communication
process. It starts with your attitude.

Change your attitude

There is a difference between a confrontation and a conversation, Newton points
out. Defining characteristics of a confrontation include being one-sided, and using an
increased volume and a negative tone. The
main factor, though, is a person's attitude for
how they approach the communication. Every
time we are faced with a confrontation, Newton
suggests thinking of ways to turn it into a
conversation. You have control of yourself,
and you have control of your attitude, he says.
This attitude can be impacted by four factors
that Newton suggests everyone employ when
having effective conversations:
Ü Use facts
Ü Be prepared
Ü Take the emotion out of it
Ü Be timely
Use facts
You want to make a decision based on facts,
says Newton.
He provided the example of having to fire
an employee. A bad employee is worse than no
employee - but what makes that employee bad?
Before going through the process of that
employee's termination, have you gone through

8 Fleet Maintenance | May 2019

the necessary channels to provide probationary measures and warnings? Offered mentoring and training? Set short-term goals for the
employee to attain and improve upon? It is also
critical to have proper documentation of these
conversations, such as completing an employee
warning form.
Get the facts first and give the employee a
chance to correct his or her issues.
Be prepared
There are two types of difficult conversations:
planned and unplanned. You should attempt to
have planned conversations as much as possible.
Unplanned conversations can easily turn into
confrontations. Unplanned conversations are
spur-of-the-moment and often fueled by frustration and anger. This can also lead to aggression.
Newton stresses that creating planned
conversations takes practice. Take an angry
customer encounter for example. Creating
guidelines or a process to handle these types
of situations can help prepare you and your
employees on what to do before having to
encounter this customer.
Take the emotion out of it
Emotion can be negative if it dictates your

It's important to take
steps to first acknowledge the
challenges, and then change
your approach to improve
the communication process.
It starts with your attitude.

» The four factors to be an effective
communicator are: use facts, be prepared,
take the emotion out of it, and be timely.
iStock

decision-making, says Newton. Often,
emotions can lead to unplanned reactions that
deviate from planned actions. He suggests the
decision be rational and well thought out, not
based on feelings.
This doesn't mean you cannot have empathy
toward the person or situation. It is important
to gain an understanding of why the event
happened in order to get to the root cause of
an issue. This can be as simple as asking if
everything is okay. Is there trouble at home?
A conflict with another employee?
Attempting to understand the other person's
side can provide perspective and shows that
you have a vested interest in their well-being.
Remain rational. A rational approach looks
at the long-term benefit of the conversation by
helping to promote and/or protect a business'
good reputation and profits.
Be timely
It is important to address issues right away and
communicate early, otherwise it can take a toll
both physically and psychologically, causing
additional stress. Letting things fester can also
cause unnecessary blow-ups and overreactions.
For example, if an employee misses an important meeting or is an hour late for work, don't wait
a week to bring it up. Talk about it that same day.

Next steps

It can be challenging to change. But, acknowledging the difficulty in communicating and
finding ways to approach it can help with being
a more effective communicator, reduce stress
levels, and make you a better leader.


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Fleet Maintenance

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fleet Maintenance

Uptime - Are You Communicating with Employees Effectively?
Trends in Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils
Vehicles - Keys to Consistent Liftgate Performance
In the Bay - How Standardized Vehicle Communication Protocols Impact Diagnostics and Vehicle Operation
Shop Operations - Considerations for Mobile Device Usage in the Shop
Training - Where are all the Students Going?
Management - Why the Recent Airline Accidents Should be Concerning
Fleet Parts & Components
Tools & Equipment
Classifieds
Guest Editorial - How Much Do You Spend on DPF Maintenance?
Fleet Maintenance - 1
Fleet Maintenance - 2
Fleet Maintenance - 3
Fleet Maintenance - 4
Fleet Maintenance - 5
Fleet Maintenance - 6
Fleet Maintenance - 7
Fleet Maintenance - Uptime - Are You Communicating with Employees Effectively?
Fleet Maintenance - 9
Fleet Maintenance - Trends in Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oils
Fleet Maintenance - 11
Fleet Maintenance - 12
Fleet Maintenance - 13
Fleet Maintenance - 14
Fleet Maintenance - 15
Fleet Maintenance - 16
Fleet Maintenance - 17
Fleet Maintenance - Vehicles - Keys to Consistent Liftgate Performance
Fleet Maintenance - 19
Fleet Maintenance - 20
Fleet Maintenance - 21
Fleet Maintenance - In the Bay - How Standardized Vehicle Communication Protocols Impact Diagnostics and Vehicle Operation
Fleet Maintenance - 23
Fleet Maintenance - 24
Fleet Maintenance - 25
Fleet Maintenance - 26
Fleet Maintenance - 27
Fleet Maintenance - Shop Operations - Considerations for Mobile Device Usage in the Shop
Fleet Maintenance - 29
Fleet Maintenance - 30
Fleet Maintenance - 31
Fleet Maintenance - 32
Fleet Maintenance - 33
Fleet Maintenance - Training - Where are all the Students Going?
Fleet Maintenance - 35
Fleet Maintenance - Management - Why the Recent Airline Accidents Should be Concerning
Fleet Maintenance - Fleet Parts & Components
Fleet Maintenance - 38
Fleet Maintenance - 39
Fleet Maintenance - 40
Fleet Maintenance - Tools & Equipment
Fleet Maintenance - 42
Fleet Maintenance - 43
Fleet Maintenance - 44
Fleet Maintenance - Classifieds
Fleet Maintenance - Guest Editorial - How Much Do You Spend on DPF Maintenance?
Fleet Maintenance - 47
Fleet Maintenance - 48
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