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While many of us in the cleaning and facilities management industries may aspire to be in a supervisory position, once we reach our goal, we may find ourselves pulled in too many directions, procuring more clients, keeping current customers happy, staying abreast of new technologies, and satisfying our own bosses. With so many demands, it’s easy to overlook the key to success in all these areas—employees who work hard and consider the company’s success their own.
Do your employees put their best efforts into every job and take pride in their work, or do they put forth the least effort possible, resisting and complaining about every innovation, even when it’s meant to benefit them?
If it’s the latter, it may be time to examine your management style.
In my experience, most managers tend to fall into one of two categories: “sage on the stage” or “guide from the side.”
Good managers soon learn that neither style works effectively 100 percent of the time, and some situations may require a change of style. While “guide from the side” tends to be the most effective style for the long term, employees should not see their leader as someone who will look the other way or accept excuses for poor work.
On the other hand, while some instances may require “sage on the stage” style, it should be used sparingly. For instance, a manager whose client is on the verge of terminating a contract may need to act quickly and employ this style temporarily.
During the years I worked as a vocational teacher, I rotated the supervisor position at intervals to make sure everyone had an opportunity to experience managing a crew. When we had complaints about a supervisor’s management style, it became a teachable moment for what staff should and should not do when promoted to a supervisory position.
At some point in your career, you were probably in the position of having a supervisor—either in the cleaning industry or elsewhere. Maybe there is someone you report to now. Take time to evaluate your supervisors’ styles and how they made (or make) you feel. Were you inspired to work harder? Did you become a team player? Or did you feel diminished and ineffective, always looking for that escape route to a better job?
Use your own experience to tweak your management style and get the most from your employees.