Keeping a team functional is not easy. Smoothing out their kinks, polishing their work, and maintaining efficiency and organisation is even harder.
Likewise, the road to self-management is rough and difficult. At times, you’ll see a team with a lot of potential fall flat on their face. They’re untidy, disorganised, and, worst of all, unmotivated.
All your time is now devoted to keeping the team afloat. You’ll see your work piling up. Your tradie business, once promising, is starting to plateau. You want more, but with the team you have now, you settle into a grind without any payoff.
You need a team manager.
What is a team manager?
A smart owner cares about their employees’ attitudes and well-being. When your personal to-do list starts to become longer, and time management gets tougher, you may find it difficult to monitor the growth of your staff. This is where your manager steps in.
Simply put, a team manager is in charge of guiding his or her team members during daily tasks and activities. They’re the leader of the pack, and the oil that keeps the gears turning smoothly. They’re expected to oversee the delegation, implementation, and evaluation of assigned projects.
However, a team manager is more than just a walking instruction manual for your workers. The kind of team manager you need to hire should help maintain workplace morale and camaraderie. However passionate a worker may be at the onset, neglecting their drive and vision can lead to a decline in work ethic and the quality of their output.
Like a cheerleader, a team manager is a source of motivation and optimism. Like a coach, they’re on top of correcting inappropriate or indolent behaviour.
Moreover, a team manager is the middleman between you and your employees. As the head of a tradie business, there’s no escaping the occasional dispute with a staff member; just like any long term relationship, your work life will have its share of arguments, miscommunication, and conflicting priorities. Having a team manager on board is perfect for when you need an impartial voice to help quash the tension and resolve disputes.
Beyond the standard definition, we believe that a quality team manager is someone trusted by his peers. People turn to these kinds of people because they’re diligent, quick on their feet, and know how to walk the talk. As leaders, your team manager should be able to hold the fort when no one else can, and do an excellent job while they’re at it.
Finally, a quality team manager isn’t an action hero. Despite their skill and position of authority, they should be humble enough to acknowledge their own mistakes. They should respect your workplace hierarchy, and learn to shape their strategies to align with your business’ goals. And most importantly, they should be receptive to new ideas; if you and your employees can’t turn to your team manager in the hopes of being listened to, why bother keeping one around?
What does a team manager do?
A team manager’s tasks can be divided into two categories: managerial tasks and coaching.
Managerial tasks are the standard duties you’d expect of a floor or office manager. These involve keeping to a schedule, delegating tasks, handling communications, creating sub-teams when needed, and everything else that keeps your team organised and functional. These are typically short-term goals that can be accomplished in under a day or two —with proper time management that is. While these tasks may seem trivial, they’re necessary to keep your teams running in the right direction.
In a sense, your team manager is taking over a job you shouldn’t have to do yourself. If you have to manage your employees’ schedules or track their progress yourself, expect your business’ growth to stall. After all your efforts are better spent tackling bigger and more impactful goals, like planning for expansion or boosting your sales.
Coaching, on the other hand, is far more personal in nature, and has a lot more to do with long-term investment. This part of the team manager’s job is about making sure your employees are set to reach their full potential. Team leaders should help your tradies develop the skill sets they need for personal growth and development. In short, they have to set the tone for a working environment that’s as much about learning as it is about earning.
Coaching a team requires tough love. It calls for a delicate balance between being one of the bosses, and being a member of the team. The best team managers should be able to correct dysfunctional behaviour, while remaining ethical, patient, fair, and kind.
Try as hard as you might, you’ll never hire the perfect employee —which is why you need a team manager who can help you develop your staff into the workforce you’ve been pining after.
These two duties go hand-in-hand. While you might be tempted to focus on the former (you’re hiring a manager, after all), ignore the power of a dedicated coach at your own risk.
What makes for a good team manager?
Not all team managers are created equal. Some are brilliant additions to a business’ roster, and others are more trouble than they’re worth —knowing the difference can make or break your team of tradies.
As they’ll be dealing with you and your employees, a good team manager should be ready to handle a lot of social interaction. You wouldn’t want to work with someone who’s stubborn or unresponsive, and neither would your team.
Good communication, respect for their coworkers, and constant vigilance are important qualities for a team manager.
You’ll need someone who’s easily motivated. Your team manager serves as the lighthouse of your company: if that light goes out, you’re team might be left to navigate in the dark. Positive energy is infectious, and when your managers are driven and passionate, your team will follow suit.
Your team manager should also be well-prepared and, cool under-pressure. When managerial tasks start to pile up, or when the team is pressed for time, the team manager has to be able think fast and stay calm. Everything falls apart when the leader is visibly shaken or worried.
Find or train a team manager who’s great at simple but significant things like keeping organised, memorising schedules, laying down important prep-work ahead of time, and tracking progress.
More importantly, you also find someone who treats their subordinates right during the most stressful occasions. Your employees are people too, and if your manager only sees them as working robots, you won’t be cultivating a healthy work environment.
Find someone who values their people and their concerns– and soon your employees will find a reason to stay motivated and enthusiastic about their work.
Needless to say, a team manager is a necessary addition to any tradie business. They help organise your workflow, delegate tasks, and keep you from micromanaging your business. More importantly, they help your tradies reach their full potential over time, making the rest of your employees all the more valuable.
It’s easy to put a team together, but it’s hard to keep them tightly knit and firing on all cylinders. Finding the right team manager for your business won’t be easy, so don’t be discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed, regroup and try again with a new subject.