Having reliable and well-trained employees is the cornerstone of any restoration companies’ success. That doesn’t seem like a groundbreaking idea, does it? If you look deeper, as a manager, you may have “great” employees that you are only allowing to be “good” employees. You probably aren’t doing it on purpose, but from time to time I believe it is important to step back and evaluate your leadership tactics.
You may be doing the necessary things to keep the wheels turning daily to achieve profitability but the act of managing is a delicate process, completely separate from those other duties. Your job is to provide resources, to empower decision making and to recognize both successes and failures so that your employees can learn from their experiences and thrive in the workplace. Your success as a manager depends greatly on the success of your employees. By following some basic principles you may be able to unlock hidden potential and discover things in your employees that you never knew existed.
One of the most important things a manager can do is to ensure that all employees have the resources necessary to thrive. In some cases, this may simply be the availability to comprehensive job skill training such as water mitigation, fire restoration, and/or mold remediation classes. In other cases, it may be additional equipment or tools such as the newest thermal imaging technology, air movers that use less electricity, or more efficient dehumidifiers. More often than not, what your employees really need most is guidance. They should be able to count on you as their manager to be their greatest resource. You are in this position because of certain knowledge and experience that you possess as a restoration industry professional. Use these qualities to counsel them and make them feel like they are an important part of your team.
A common misconception that many managers have is that keeping a tight ship is the only way to run a business. Micromanaging your employees can lead to indecisiveness, low self-confidence, less than optimal job performances and will hinder good employees from becoming great employees. Instead of micromanaging, let your key employees act without always asking you for permission. You hired them for a reason, trained them to do a certain job and invested time and energy into them. If your employees have completed an Applied Structural Drying class, they should have an in-depth understanding of the processes and procedures necessary to successfully manage water losses of varying degrees. Trust that they will use what they have learned and allow them to use their knowledge and think for themselves. Hopefully, they will make the right decisions based on their training and your confidence in them will grow. If they make a wrong decision, help them to understand the problem and move forward together.
One of the easiest ways to gain the confidence of an employee is to recognize both their successes and failures. Public praise and private criticism is an adage that has been used for decades as a management tool. If you take it one step further you will discover that employees are not opposed to being taught how to correct their wrongs. If an employee builds a containment incorrectly or doesn’t use negative air the right way, don’t berate them for it, teach them the correct way and trust that the next time they will do it correctly. Of course everyone likes to be patted on the back when they do something good, but good employees who strive to become great will take also advantage of criticism as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and become better at what they do.
There is no secret formula to managing employees. It isn’t something you do once a day, or once a week, it is a constant and evolving process. Give them the support they need, help them make the right decisions and acknowledge their successes and failures so that they can grow, and hopefully one day your good employees will become great.
Rolyn's PSA is a Priority Service Agreement that puts pricing, billing, and response logistics in place before services are needed. It allows you to make a decision about prices and capabilities before a disaster strikes, instead of in the chaotic midst of a disaster or emergency situation.