Helping Managers Find Their Way
At Morris-Jenkins Heating and Air, we’re constantly recruiting, interviewing, and hiring HVAC service technicians. Once new hires are obtained, training and development is a crucial part of any company’s effort to grow, thrive, and reap the profits flowing in at new levels.
We hire people who live by our core values of honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect.
Whether an individual manages the company’s call center, service department, installation crew, or sales team, the role of a manager is simple: to turn talent into performance. Developing team members from their hire date is a critical part of making sure management gets everything it can out of new and established talent.
There are several different management styles, and one’s personal style depends on past experiences, values, motives, and behaviors. Variables such as the type of work, whether the individual’s dealing with a new or seasoned team, and the short- and long-term goals of an organization all play a role in one’s particular management style.
When I began my management career, I thought I needed to lead with a directive style. In other words, I managed with a “it’s my way or the highway” mentality.
I was much younger than most of my employees, so I thought that in order to gain their respect, I should rule with an iron fist.
I set high standards and disciplined those who came up short. I learned these methods from people who managed this way during my management training; therefore, it was how I treated my own employees. While my teams did perform, they only performed well enough to stay under the radar. I believed I was a firm-but-fair manager. Actually, I was just a self-centered, win-at-all-costs, enough-is-never-enough micromanager. My employees were highly skilled but they were also underdeveloped, frustrated, and resentful for being micromanaged. Sound familiar?
Luckily, I found a way to evolve beyond that style of management. Over the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to find several extraordinary mentors, and, through years of self-reflection, I now have a management style that works best for me.
Today, my style is more like that of a coach. The coaching style of management is when the primary focus is on long-term professional development of employees. I believe this is the key to long-term success in the HVAC business. Employees need a coach who will lead them with clarity and courage. They need a coach who will teach them to run the play that works best for each particular job.
Managers who use the coaching style encourage and mentor employees to develop their strengths and improve their performance. Employees will perform above and beyond the company’s expectations when they realize their coach is simply trying to help them reach their full potential. Team members desire and deserve growth.
In Verne Harnish’s book, “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…And Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0),” he states, “All growth companies are training companies.”
TURNING TALENT INTO PERFORMANCE
As the training director at Morris-Jenkins Heating and Air, my primary focus is the personal and career development of the company’s members (employees). Everybody wants to be part of a winning team. With proper training through the development of their talent, a good coach is able to quickly recognize and nurture the high-end potential that new members show. Sure, it takes some time, but when training is done right, the company benefits from the full potential of its members. This also increases retention and keeps the company from losing good people early on.
Additionally, the ability to attract, hire, and retain key people in the HVAC industry is vital to its growth. Are company managers setting the standard? There is always someone watching, listening, and mimicking a leader’s behavior. Be a mentor by always taking the high road. Take the time to expose staff to other parts of the business to help round out their skills. Any business’s best employees want to climb, so let them. How can we expect employees to be extraordinary and help the company stand out if we use the same hiring and training methods as every other HVAC company in the market? The best industry leaders take the time to coach and train their people daily. Successful coaches are always talking to their people, and while they don’t demand excellence, they expect improvement.
Managers, on a daily basis, should be asking: “How am I making my people better?”
Here are five main activities of a successful HVAC coach:
• Help people play to their strengths;
• Be a strength-finder, not a fault-finder;
• Don’t demotivate — instead, dehassle;
• Find ways to make their jobs easier; and
• Set clear expectations.
Employees will perform better if they are clear about their roles in the company. Give recognition and show appreciation. Take time to celebrate achievements as often as possible. Hire fewer people, but pay them more. Simply find the right people and pay them what they are worth.
Take some time today for a bit of self-reflection. What type of management style is employed within the company’s walls? Are employees eager to follow the examples ownership has set?
Be a mentor to those new people in the HVAC industry — they need positive influences. They need a coach. Are you willing to fill that role?
Publication date: 7/11/2016