Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a term you hear a lot of people tossing around these days. Most of us think we know what it means and maybe you do or maybe you sorta do.

In this article I’m going to break the term down and you can judge for yourself how much you understand it and use in your daily life.

First let’s review the definition: 

“The ability to manage both your own emotions and understand the emotions of people around you.” Seems simple enough. Keep reading.

One of the most important ingredients of EI is peripheral awareness. It’s almost like having a fifth sense. It’s imperative that if you’re going to execute the four components of EI that you must develop your peripheral awareness. Peripheral awareness is simply paying attention to what’s going on around you. Some people work and live in a fog. Get your head out of the fog.

Far too often there’s more importance put on a person’s IQ, education, and training than EI.

EI revolves around understanding and managing emotions – both our own and those of others. In today’s world, where relationships and teamwork are integral to success, emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence can be broken down into four key components:

Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding our own emotions, as well as their impact on our thoughts and behavior. Being able to control what’s in your head and what comes out of your month goes a long way toward improving your self-awareness.

Self-regulation: The ability to manage and control one’s emotions, preventing impulsive actions or reactions. Just as above. Control what comes out of your mouth.

Social awareness: Being attuned to the emotions of others, sensing their feelings, and understanding their perspectives. This ties into the point I made about peripheral awareness. It’s almost like you need to have little energy antennas sticking out of your head alerting you how others are feeling around you. Some people put off good energy. Others not so good.

Relationship management: Utilizing self-awareness, self-regulation, and social awareness to build and maintain healthy relationships. You build a healthy relationship by taking a sincere interest in the other person. Until you have a clear understanding of how to do this, you will struggle with whatever you are selling and connecting to people.

Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Enhanced Communication: High EI enables better communication. By understanding both verbal and non-verbal cues, individuals with strong EI can express themselves effectively and, more importantly, listen attentively. This builds trust, cooperation, and healthy relationships.

Conflict Resolution: Emotionally intelligent individuals are skilled at resolving conflicts amicably. They can de-escalate tense situations, find common ground, and seek mutually beneficial solutions. Some people are geniuses at this. Others only make the problem worse.

Leadership: Great leaders possess high levels of emotional intelligence. They inspire and motivate their teams by understanding the individual needs, strengths, and weaknesses of their members. This build a positive and productive work environment.

Adaptability: Life is full of challenges, and those with a strong EI are more adaptable to change. They can bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and embrace new opportunities. They understand taking the blame when things don’t go as planned and give others credit when they do.

Stress Management: Emotionally intelligent people are better equipped to manage stress. They can recognize when they are becoming overwhelmed, take steps to reduce stress, and maintain their overall well-being. Go outside. Walk around the building. Take a deep breath.

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

You’re not born with EI. It can be developed and enhanced over time. Here are some strategies to boost your EI:

Self-reflection: Regularly take time to reflect on your emotions, their triggers, and how you respond to them. Don’t lie to the person in the mirror.

Active listening: Pay close attention to what others are saying, both verbally and non-verbally, and seek to understand their feelings and perspectives. Most of us spend time thinking about what our response will be rather than really listening to what the other person is saying.

Practice empathy: Put yourself in others’ shoes and try to grasp their emotions and motivations. I often ask people, “How would you feel if you were on the other side?”

Mindfulness and meditation: These practices can help improve self-awareness and self-regulation.

Seek feedback: Ask for honest feedback from trusted individuals to identify areas for improvement. This is a tough one. Most people don’t want to hear the truth.

Emotional intelligence is an essential skill in our personal and professional lives. It has a profound impact on our relationships, teamwork, and overall success.

By improving our emotional intelligence, we can build better connections, handle challenges more effectively, and lead more fulfilling lives. Emotional Intelligence. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Is Forecasting a Waste of Time?

I’m betting you’ve either got a lot of numbers already laid out on a spreadsheet for 2024 or you’re scrambling to get it done in the next few days.

I’m a big proponent of forecasting. It lays out a map as to where we are going. Although there are detours along the way it gives us a chance to get to our final destination.

I’m an even bigger proponent of department head meetings. I believe your job as a leader should be to teach, educate, coach and encourage your team to seek ways to improve your operations.

I tend to take a common-sense approach to most things in life and I approach forecasting and monthly management meetings no differently.

Dealers, or any business for that matter, tend to forecast based on what they would like to do in the upcoming year.

Often it’s based on statements such as “we need to increase our sales by 10%” and/or “we need to reduce expenses by 15%.”

Saying you want to increase your business by 10% sounds good, but if you don’t have a plan to get there what good is it?

I’ve always been baffled by annual forecasting.

One of two things usually happens:

1. Someone is overly optimistic and/or they are blowing smoke up someone’s butt.

2. Someone serves up a low ball because they don’t want the pressure of hitting an unrealistic number.

Although dealers want to see an improvement in the next year’s numbers, what they really want is a number they can take to the bank.

In order to do a realistic forecast, you have to take into account staffing, inventory, and market conditions. How can anyone do a forecast and predict what those three pieces of the equation are going to look like 3, 6 or 12 months down the road?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do an annual forecast, but doesn’t it make more sense to adjust that forecast monthly or quarterly based on those three fundamental elements?

Because most leaders don’t make those adjustments it frustrates the management team and defeats whatever good intentions there might have been. Everyone eventually loses respect and confidence in any type of forecasting and concludes “Why bother?”

While it makes good sense to do a monthly or quarterly review of the actual numbers, managers become disillusioned with these reviews in that they become a “beat up” session rather than trying to figure out what went wrong and how “we” can fix it.

People know when they didn’t perform. What they want from upper management is leadership that gives well-defined ideas and direction on how to “fix it” or make it better.

Using more common sense with your forecasting and monthly management meetings will help you grow a solid organization that generates consistent profits and sustained growth.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Are You Dead or Alive?

Great leaders have their thumb on the pulse of the organization.

Without a pulse the organization dies. If you are to improve your leadership skills you must know the pulse of your organization.

You can only know the pulse of the organization by absorbing yourself within the daily activities and action of the business. To feel the pulse you must feel the passion.

If you’re not feeling the passion, then your pulse may very well be dead. Maybe your pulse is dead because you’re burned out.

How can you be burned out when you’ve never been on fire?

You are responsible for your own fire. I’m just trying to give you a match to get you going. Firing up your own passion will ignite your organization.

Real leaders have a pulse.

Real leaders feel the pulse.

Real leaders inspire a pulse.

Hope you’re on fire. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

You Know Where The Problem Is

“Some people will not change until the pain is so great
that they have to.”

One of the more interesting things I see in my line of work is dealers and managers often know they have a problem, but don’t do what’s necessary to fix it.

These are smart people with years of experience and plenty of data and information to conclude that something isn’t working as well as it should or could.

They know there’s a better way, but stay on a road named “frustration.” When your staff becomes frustrated, the growth of your organization is stymied, and your bottom line impacted.

The two examples I see most often are:

1. The relationship between the parts and service departments and the used car department. Sometimes it’s the cost of parts and repairs and sometimes it’s workflow.

Never forget that you can’t sell them and make the most money if you can’t get them to the front line in a timely manner. Nothing drives sales management crazier than seeing units sitting out back waiting to go through recon.

A large percentage of the dealers don’t know where the bottleneck is or how long it takes to get units through the system and ready for retail. They know they have a problem, they just don’t know how big it is and how much it’s hurting their bottom line.

Each department is a separate business and there’s pressure on each department/business to make a profit. Therefore, it often feels like our business model, by design, is set up for the departments to work against each other. Watch this 3 minute VIDEO on my recon tool.

2. Overaged used cars. Dealers know it’s not profitable to keep used cars past 60 days. Most know the profit starts to take a serious dip on day 30. Profit and ROI are going south, and the dealer looks the other way. How such intelligent people allow this to go on and on is extremely hard to understand.

Ignoring the problem creates a culture that lacks discipline, which over the course of time will vibrate throughout the store. You cannot win on a consistent basis when there’s a breakdown of discipline.

More often than not we know how to fix the problem. And, more often than not we don’t fix it. We don’t address the problem due to fear. Fear can be real or imaginary. We often fear that if we attack the problem that someone will quit because they can’t live with the new approach.

If you fear asking people to change to something that’s going to make you, them, and your organization better, then there may be an even bigger problem that needs fixing.

Maybe you need to fix your thinking.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

Change Your Title To Coach

The more I’m involved with the automobile business and the more I observe other businesses, the more I realize we in the business world have got it all wrong when it comes to management.

Specifically the word manager.

In business, people are often given the title of “Manager.” Sometimes it’s truly a gift because they were next “up,” and sometimes they worked hard to get it.

Most people who are managers think of themselves as, well, uhh, managers. They’ve been told they are a manager so they go about their business of managing people, systems, and processes.

I looked the word manager up and here’s what I found: “Somebody who is responsible for directing and controlling the work and staff of a business, or of a department within it.”

I can’t argue that is more or less the definition that most people work from. When working with and leading people I believe we would be much better served by replacing the word “manager” with the word “coach.”

Like many of you reading this, my life has been impacted in one way or another by sports. Whether you played sports or if you are simply a sports fan, the odds are you can relate to the field of sports and the influence it has had on you one way or another.

When I first got out of college I was a head football coach at a private military academy, Frederick Military Academy in Portsmouth, VA. The reality is that all throughout my career I’ve always seen myself as a coach not a manager.

If you think about what we do, at least those who do it well, we are always coaching. It’s just like being a head football coach.

As a head coach, your focus is to coach the players and the assistant coaches. It never ends.

If you have a coach’s meeting then you are reviewing the practice, schedule, game plan, etc. When you’re on the field with the players you are coaching technique, disciplines, conditioning, teamwork, attitudes, and the importance of “getting it right.”
Coaching takes place on and off the field just as it does with you in the dealership. Coaching is nothing but “selling.” If you’re a coach of an athletic team you are selling players and assistant coaches on why they need to buy into whatever it is you’re trying to get across.

This is no different than the business you’re in. You’re constantly selling someone on your team as to how and why to do things a certain way.

So, how much better off would we be if we all really took it to heart that we are no longer managers but “coaches” and that every minute that we are in front of our team our number one focus is to coach, coach and coach some more?

Top coaches are always looking for that competitive edge.

Getting a competitive edge means seeking information, testing the waters, trying a new play, attending a coaching workshop, and pushing yourself harder than you’re pushing the team.

Top coaches communicate with other top coaches. (20 Groups, Clubhouse App, Facebook Groups, etc.)

Top coaches hire other coaches who are smarter than they are with specific skills to help the team win. Top coaches know what they don’t know. Top coaches hire me.
It’s really strange that dealers who are unsuccessful don’t hire me and those who hire me are already successful.

They are already making money. Like any good coach they know they can do better. They know there is more to be had.
They know the team needs to hear it from an outside coach once in a while.
Great coaches are givers of information and they seek information to make themselves and their team better.
Hey “Coach,” thanks for reading my material.
That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs


Most health magazines would tell you that walking 20 minutes a day has huge health benefits. There are also some huge business benefits if you would make yourself take a walk. Try these three walks and your health and business will improve:

1. The Meet Your Team Walk-The first walk occurs each day as soon as you arrive at the dealership. Generally speaking, I’m directing most of my writings at the dealer and/or General Manager of the dealership, but in this specific case, it can apply to anyone and will pay huge dividends regardless of your position.

Start at the back of the dealership and work your way toward the front. Your mission should be to speak to as many team members (call them what you want) as possible. Over time you should get to know them.

Make it a point to stop and talk to every technician, every porter, every service writer, etc.

Work your way into the body and parts departments and do the same. Then visit the office staff and sales department. Of course, the sequence may depend on your actual job and role in the operation, but you get the point. In time you need to at least learn the following:

Their name. (Duh!)
Where are they originally from?
How long have they worked there?
What drew them to the type of work they are doing and to the company?
Spouse’s name?
Children, ages/boy/girl?
Hobbies/what do they like to do in free time?
What are their long-term goals in life?
Find out something from them that others would be surprised about.
As I was writing this I considered explaining the benefits of taking a “team walk” each day, but concluded that if you can’t figure it out yourself it’s hopeless and you might be in the wrong business.

2. The Trade Walk-there should be a staging area where all trades are parked. All members of management must go on the trade walk every day at a specific time, preferably after your “save-a-deal meeting.”

All managers mean GM, GSM, Used Car Manager, F&I Manager, BDC Manager, Internet Manager, New Car Manager, and most importantly the Service Manager. Stop at each car and talk about the car.

You will be amazed at how many more trades you will end up keeping and how many more deals you actually are able to put together by getting insight and suggestions from the various members of your management team. It is very foolish to allow one person to make decisions on which trades to keep and not keep.

The concessions and input you will get from your service manager will pay valuable dividends. It’s a total no-brainer. (My software mobile app will help you.)

3. The Lot Walk-The lot walk takes place once a week preferably after your weekend kick-off sales meeting which should be on Friday. (I’ve never understood the concept of having a kick-off sales meeting on a Saturday.) After the meeting, all salespeople and all the members of the management team including the service manager will take a lot walk. Stop at each vehicle on the lot and talk about the unit.

This is how you get your entire sales team involved in selling more used cars. The more they know about your inventory the more they will sell. You have to force-feed them. You will find out why certain cars have not sold because as you stop to talk about the specific cars the salespeople will tell you why that car is still sitting there getting stale.

Oftentimes there is an issue with a car as to why it has not sold. By having the service manager on the walk he/she will jump all over the issue and get it handled for you. It’s called the “embarrassment factor.”

So, here’s the bottom line. Start walking. Walking is good for your health. Walking is good for your business. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

Maybe You Ain’t That Smart?

A number of years ago I came up with a saying, “You’re never as smart as you think you are and you are never as dumb as you appear.” Some of you are feeling pretty smart right now.

It could be that you are really smart, or it could be that you got lucky because of a once-in-a-lifetime market shift in your favor.

And of course, there are times when you feel pretty dumb. Even that may or may not be true. You might be a victim of a bad set of circumstances. Some of you have had bad franchises in bad locations or it could be that you’re a newer used car manager that inherited a hot mess for a used car inventory.

Or it could be you’re just dumb.

In any given set of circumstances, it’s important to maximize whatever you have. Right now, you may be maximizing things in spite of yourself or maybe you’ve been smart enough to make some good moves.

It could have been you didn’t know what to do and by doing nothing you got lucky.

The most important thing right now is recognizing where you are, how you got there, and how to stay on this magical course you’ve discovered.

Even with all that said, this business continues to be:

All about the basics.
All about the fundamentals.
All about your disciplines.
All about the processes.
All about understanding the data.
All about common sense.
All about your focus.

Never forget that sometimes when you get to the fork in the road you need to take it.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

What About Expectations?

Frequently in my training sessions, I’ll ask the question, “How many of you agree that we do a lousy job of holding people accountable in your business?” Without exception, they will all raise their hands.

Leaders that have figured out how to hold people accountable are the most successful when it comes to developing a culture of leaders and achieving high results.

Holding people accountable doesn’t have to be a negative experience. When people understand the expectations, they will seek to achieve those expectations, goals, objectives, culture, or however, you might want to frame it.

People tend to do the right thing when they know it’s in their best interest, not when you have to hit them over the head with a baseball bat.

Your job as a leader is to sell the team the idea that the things the organization deems to be in the best interest of the organization are actually in their best interest too.

Achieving expectations means they win, we win and we all have more success.

Easy tips:

1. Make sure everyone is reminded of the expectations. Yes, that seems elementary, but the evaporation factor is always in play. Either as a direct message or subliminally, leaders must constantly remind the troops of what’s expected and what’s important.

2. Get on it right now. Far too often when there’s a lapse in achievement, leaders let things drag on and on. The more things are allowed to slip, the more those things become a habit, and the more the expectations are lowered.

3. You don’t have to be mean to enforce expectations. People like to work in a well-run, well-disciplined organization. This isn’t about screaming and hollering at someone about their failures.

It is about letting them know quickly we’re not on track; you and your team are not getting it done, whatever “getting it done” might mean to you.
At some point, there must be consequences for those who cannot live up to reasonable expectations. The ultimate consequence is they get to go to work someplace else.

4. Be consistent in your actions and statements. The easiest way for expectations to fall apart is that you are all over the place. You let some things slide for some people and not for others. You cannot be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Selective enforcement with just a few people will destroy the morale and productivity of the team.

5. There are times when you need to figure out the real root of why expectations aren’t being met. What’s the real problem? Leadership sometimes will set the wrong expectations. Setting the wrong expectations is just as bad as not having any.

6. In order to hold others accountable, we too have to hold ourselves accountable. We should make it a daily practice of looking in the mirror and being honest with ourselves.

A part of holding yourself accountable is never to forget, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The closer you become to people the more difficult you make your responsibility of holding them accountable.

I’m holding you accountable. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

Is There a Pulse?

Great leaders have their thumb on the pulse of the organization. Without a pulse, the organization dies. If you are to improve your leadership skills you must know the pulse of your organization.

You can only know the pulse of the organization by absorbing yourself within the daily activities and action of the business. To feel the pulse you must feel the passion.

If you’re not feeling the passion, then your pulse may very well be dead. Maybe your pulse is dead because you’re burned out. How can you be burned out when you’ve never been on fire?

You are responsible for your own fire. I’m just trying to give you a match to get you going. Firing up your own passion will ignite your organization.

Real leaders have a pulse. Real leaders feel the pulse. Real leaders inspire a pulse.

I hope you’re on fire. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs.