When I first started my business, I’ll be honest: I was a horrible manager. I look back and cringe at how I begged and threatened people to get them to do what I wanted.
What I gave employees was a task list. I thought of each of them as a helper.
Then I started reading Stephen Covey’s books and I realized leadership is not about using people like tools. It’s about helping people reach their greatest potential.
This might sound fluffy, but it’s actually not.
In fact, what all of us want as leaders is to make more money, have more time in our day, and get back to loving what we do. Your most direct path to that is putting good team management practices in place.
I shifted my thinking to seeing employees as partners who could be accountable to specific results. My job as a leader was to tap into my team’s potential and set them up to win.
Today’s video is a discussion with Spencer Powell, host of the Builder Funnel Radio podcast.
I’ll explain how to shift from thinking of employees as helpers to seeing them as partners, what structures and systems you need to put in place for everyone to succeed, and how to motivate people to care about the job they do.
These practices not only free up your time and bring in more revenue, they also will have people knocking down your door to work for you.
When a client comes to me saying they spend all of their time on the headaches of management, one of the first things we do is put in place structures that are going to free up their time and bring them more revenue.
The Foundation of Great Team
The first structure that I like to use is position agreements. A position agreement creates accountability for a result. It also makes it clear why their position matters, what it contributes, and clearly lines out what the criteria is for success in their job.
For example, the project manager… Their primary job is “on time, on budget, as promised.” A traditional job description might include hold client meetings, stay on top of the schedule, manage team members, and so on. Instead, a the way I write position agreements that are specific and measurable. It says things like you’re responsible for:
- Updating schedules every 2 weeks
- Keeping the client informed of project status with meetings every 2 weeks
- Updating the Cost To Complete every 30 days
- Doing 2-week “look-ahead” weekly with the foreman
A position agreement lays out SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, and Time-driven.
A project manager can read a position agreement and know exactly how to win with you. It’s clear what makes them successful in their job. And they have control over what they do. Of course, this does not only apply to project managers, but every position from the laborers, to the accounts payable team, to leadership.
How to Hire Great People
The next structure I want to talk about is the hiring process, and this is even more important right now when the labor market is tight.
People love to work for companies that have their acts together. They have a good reputation for being well-run, organized, and trust-worthy. When you build that type of environment, people talk about it and want to work for you.
This starts in the interview process. You wouldn’t leave a meeting with a potential client without a leave-behind about your company. The same goes for people coming in to interview with you. You’re in a sales environment when you hire these days. Why not create a sheet about what you can offer new hires?
When you ask interview questions, make sure they are open ended. Ask, “Tell me how you run a project,” instead of “Do you plan ahead on your projects?” When you get someone talking about the how they work, think and function in their job, you will have a much better understanding as to whether or not their a “right fit” for the position your hiring for.
Getting Consistent Results
The third structure I want to talk about putting in place is creating systems and processes so there is consistency in how things are done.
If that sounds boring, let me ask you a question… You didn’t start your business to micromanage people all day long, did you?
If you find yourself working too many hours, never taking vacations, and not making the kind of money you want to make, you need a system that creates more accountability, standards, and processes.
Doing so builds a foundation for growth, creates consistency for how the work gets done, and establishes how much it’s going to cost. If you’re just starting out with putting systems in place, start with the most critical things and go from there. For example, there should be a consistent Chang eOrder system in place because that’s an area where many contractors lose money.
Follow Through and Feedback
The final structure I want to talk about is follow through and feedback. Once you have position agreements in place, part of your job is managing a structure for consistent communication. Hold weekly check-ins and honor your commitments to your team.
People are starved for feedback. They want to know how they’re doing. Have the performance conversation every 6 months or yearly. But if there’s an issue, don’t wait to talk about it. Address it head on. Don’t avoid the hard conversations. If you don’t know what to say, just be honest.
Communication with integrity, honesty, and compassion leads to team members feeling like they belong, they matter, and they contribute to the success of the company. When you create that environment, you can get a lot more done, and you build a business that great people want to work for!
Before I go, if you want more on this topic, I’ve got a free webinar coming up. How to Get Your Team to Take More Ownership – I’ll dive deeper into the tools you can implement with your team to get better results while taking less of your time. Keep your eyes open for the invitation coming out soon.
PS. Check out my book, The Profit Bleed. You’ll get practical tools and resources you can use today to make your team accountable for specific results. Plus you’ll find out how to shift to an environment where people line up to work for you.
Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently. Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.