The following remarks were made regarding the guest column “Solving the Leadership Gap in the Trade Industry,” written by Alex Willis, CEO of Leadership Surge, published July 26.



Everyone has tough days, and they deal with them in different ways. The difference is that the managers of the world chalk those days up to a customer issue and a bad market, while leaders take it a step further. I find myself asking, “What can I do to make sure I have less of the bad days and devote myself to developing my team and my leadership skills?” Even after devoting myself to being a leader and not a manager, I still need reassurance that I’m doing the right thing for my team and customers.

Sometimes, the only thing you have is faith in yourself, and then you ask yourself these questions: How do you know you are an effective leader? How do you know that you have created a vision that your team can follow and be inspired to take significant action and make your vision a reality? More importantly, how do you know your vision will equal success in a marketplace that includes more local competition than ever before and even more global companies like Amazon, The Home Depot, and all the other faceless online transaction-based stores?

In the service business, where every potential customer can search the cost of every part you use for a repair or every piece of equipment you can install, there is only one reason a customer will stay a customer and not question why the cost of repair is $400 for a part they can buy online for $75. The reason is directly based on how effective you are as a leader. Your primary goal as a leader is to create a vision so powerful and so concise that you have empowered your team members to meet your customers’ expectations of premium service, no matter what obstacles they face. Like in many industries, your team will be faced with new challenges each day. Many of these challenges will be out of their control, and most good team members would say “It’s not my problem.” The great team members are empowered to take care of the issue, and they consider it to be their opportunity to make a bad situation a reason to gain another lifelong customer. These great team members understand the vision of your company and feel that they are a part of something so powerful and grand, they don’t even consider it anything less than their duty as part of the team to take the challenging situation on and conquer it with everyone’s best interest in mind.

Christopher M. Payne
Director of Retail Operations
E.D.S. Air Conditioning and Plumbing Lake Worth, Florida


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Publication date: 8/27/2018

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