Being a leader can be a challenge. And if you’ve got a towing business, you’re at the head of multiple teams – your drivers, your dispatchers – while simultaneously overseeing the (mildly important) business aspects like paperwork and contracts. Your people look to you. We’re going to go over some different leadership styles and a few considerations for effective leadership.
Different types of leaders.
First of all, there’s a difference between a “boss” and a “manager-leader”. Bosses, well, boss people around with little consideration for their employees’ well-being. Unfortunately, employees could end up being treated more as robots than human beings. Managers (and leaders) on the other hand guide their teams. They hear their opinions and involve them in relevant decisions. Leaders build their teams up.
So, ask yourself – are you leading your team…or boss-ing them?
Now, this isn’t to say that leaders aren’t all unique, with their own personalities and strategies for overseeing their teams. Some are driven by performance and results. Others adapt to the situation they find themselves in – as well as the people they’re working with. And there are leaders who put a commitment to training and coaching at the forefront. Still others are more comfortable taking risks, and some implement change.
What do effective leaders do?
Whatever your leadership style, there are a few things you can do to be an effective leader.
1. Encourage communication and feedback.
Leaders have to be sure to foster an environment that is conducive to communication. Employees (drivers, dispatchers, etc.) should feel like they can voice their opinions and provide their input. People like to know that they’re being heard. If your employees have concerns or suggestions, they should feel like they can speak up. And you might get some great ideas that you can incorporate.
(And remember, communication should be two-way. You also need to provide constructive feedback and encouragement to your team.)
2. Be clear.
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as being told off for something that you didn’t know you were supposed to do (or not supposed to do). This is why, as a leader, it’s essential to be very clear about conveying your expectations to employees. Leaders have to be sure that everyone’s on the same page – this saves everyone grief in the long run. Leaders are good about laying out their guidelines and goals, and they answer questions if more clarity is needed.
3. Understand your team.
An effective leader also needs to understand their team members – that way, they can help them grow. Leaders get how to challenge their team, teaching them and helping them to develop new skills. (And of course, they provide their team with the tools they need to do so.)
4. Reflect the way you want your team to act.
Leaders are also examples for their team. If they want their team to act with integrity and respect, they act with integrity and respect. If a tow boss wants their team to commit to safety, they need to show that they’re committed to safety. (And safety is a top priority for towing businesses.)
5. Show appreciation.
Part of leadership is showing appreciation for the team. Leaders are good at inspiring their team and creating a positive environment. And part of that is letting the team feel noticed and appreciated. Remember, people are people – not machines. Tow truck drivers and dispatchers work hard, and that deserves to be acknowledged.
6. Always learn.
Leaders are also open to learning new things. They’re always up for expanding their skillset. They embrace opportunities to grow and increase their knowledge. They don’t just assume that they know everything.
7. Address issues promptly.
It’s the leader’s job to take charge when issues arise, and they need to be decisive at times. Of course, they also need to be open to the opinions and feedback of their teams. Towing is not always smooth sailing, so being able to understand, evaluate, and respond to situations and challenges is an essential skill for leaders in the tow truck industry.
8. Keep a positive mindset.
Towing leaders also create positive workplaces, and that starts by keeping a positive mindset. They’re encouraging and know how to motivate people with a cheerful can-do attitude. This helps the workplace become an energetic, ultimately happy place. The employees should be looking forward to going to work every day, not dreading it, and the workplace environment is a large part of that.
9. Teach their employees.
Leaders also want to teach their employees and provide mentorship. Since leaders always want to learn new things themselves, they also are happy to teach their team. This, in turn, allows the team to see that they are valued and that their leader wants to invest in them.
10. Wield their power wisely.
Leaders have to ask themselves if they are using their power for good – they need to evaluate the purpose towards which they’re working, and they understand that their leadership role comes with a lot of responsibility. Leaders also should really, genuinely enjoy being in their role. They keep their focus on the team and how they can support their people.
Leadership comes with its challenges, but it also comes with its rewards. It’s important to consider your leadership strategy and how you want to captain your tow truck business. Leaders have communication skills and they have the ability to both give and receive feedback.
Corelli, Christine. “Are You a Boss or a Leader?”, Tow Times, Nov. 2019,