Why Doing Ride-Alongs With Your Techs Makes You a Better Leader
Y’know, I have a friend who is scared stiff of doing ride-along with his techs. He’s not the only one, though. Crazy, right?
So, what’s the deal? In his case, my friend is afraid that the customer will expect him to be smarter than the tech since he is the owner of the company. And he is afraid of being asked a question that he can’t answer.
How about you? Are you afraid of your customers? Or are you afraid that you will not look smart in front of your technician?
KNOWING WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW
One of my mentors who I consider to be the best electrical trainer on the planet is Mike Holt. His material is top-notch, his training videos are perfect, and, in a live setting, he is just plain amazing. He opened the National Electrical Code up to me and made it understandable.
So, I just naturally thought he could never fail. I thought there was no question that would stump him. Until one day in a class with electricians, electrical inspectors, and even electrical engineers, he was asked some standard question.
Now, I don’t remember the question after all this time, but I will never forget Mike’s answer. He looked at the man who asked the question and said, “Do I look like I know?”
The class was stunned. I was stunned. Then Mike explained. “It’s OK not to know. Nobody knows everything.”
From then on, I was not afraid to not know something, and I have used his method many times in my own speaking and training. I am not afraid to not know because that’s where I start to learn. There is no shortage of information if you are willing to just go out and find it. Every question has an answer.
BECOMING A BETTER LEADER
That is why I think ride-alongs make you a better leader. Of course, we do ride-alongs to help our technicians become better at their job, but, it will probably do as much for the manager as it does for the tech.
Also, when your technicians see that you are not afraid to admit when you are stumped it makes you more human, and we could probably use a few more human-like managers in our industry.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS
At my business, when we teach best practices to owners and managers, we know the one thing that will cause them to be successful is if they get in the truck with their technicians and help them understand the process.
I think the day-to-day work and challenges that a technician faces are sometimes lost to the manager or owner. Many of us will say, “Oh, I can run a service call. Heck, I can even run a service truck, I still have it in me.”
Oh really? How long has it been since you ran a service call? Maybe not long for some of you, but how long has it been since you ran calls all day for several days in a row?
If the answer is, “Well, it’s been a really long time,” then you know it’s time get in the truck, buy the tech coffee and lunch, and just have a good time getting to know them and helping them with the process you want them to use.
You will be a better manager or owner for it, and, who knows, you might just end up a better human being. Just sayin’.
Publication date: 2/04/2019