How To | Create an Effective Building Services Team
Building exceptional teams is never easy, and the skill shortage hitting the building and renewable energy services is adding an extra layer of challenge for many managers.
However, adopting effective leadership strategies can transform a lagging or mediocre team into a motivated, bonded, and high-performing unit.
Additionally, forging a leadership style that others want to follow will ensure that your team suffers low turnover and has a robust talent pipeline into the future.
Here are 5 pillars of leadership strategy that can revolutionise your team.
1. Adapt Your Leadership Style to the Individual
The key to be an excellent manager for your team is not so much about your working style (although that’s important too). It’s about theirs.
Personally, you may love public praise, enjoy teamwork, and appreciate blunt feedback, but your introverted structural engineer or energy expert may dislike public appreciation, prefer independent work, and perceive straight-talking feedback as an attack on his or her competence. You just managing this person as you like to be managed won’t get the best out of them – at all.
To be a great leader of a high performing team, the most important thing of all is to get to know your people as individuals, taking note of how they like to work, how they want to receive feedback, and how they wish to communicate.
Observe them to see what their patterns are, but also, don’t be afraid to ask! Most people will be pleasantly shocked at their manager enquiring how they prefer to be managed, so you should get some brownie point for making the effort (if you follow their preferences)
2. Share Goals and Expectations
Managers can sometimes make a rod for their own backs by not explaining the ‘Why’ of what the team is doing- and just as importantly, how the individual’s role or task is a vital part of the broader team goal.
If team members don’t understand why the build deadline has moved forward, or why the budget has been reduced, it can be tough to motivate them to put in the extra work required.
And that dull but essential task will be much easier to assign once the individual understands how crucial it is to reach the next milestone for the team.
Be transparent about the ‘Why’ of your decision making, and you’ll find that it’s easier for your team to get onboard with the new direction. Also, sharing information makes a leader seem much more trustworthy, which is a crucial pillar of strong leadership.
3. Set Milestones and Rewards
Once you’ve explained the goals, it’s time to communicate clear performance expectations, as well milestones to ensure everyone’s on track.
We strongly recommend breaking up big goals into their small parts, which allows the team to tick off tasks regularly and work up positive momentum, rather than working for extended periods with no end in sight.
It’s imperative to create an incentive system alongside big projects- whether you want this to be linked to financial bonuses, rewards like Gold Class cinema tickets, or just Friday afternoon BBQ’s onsite on weeks you’ve hit deadlines. Every time the team meets a target, it should be recognised and celebrated in some way.
4. Develop your Team
Managers are generally promoted because they are high achievers, but sometimes take a little while to make the mental shift between being a star performer themselves, and then learning to step back and develop others so they can shine. Developing others is the true hallmark of success for a building services manager.
The experience of developing a team to its potential is a career highlight for any manager- it’s exciting and immensely gratifying to see individuals grow, discover new talents, and push the team to new heights.
The building services and renewables is a really great sector for skill-building too – there’s always new materials, new research, new regulations, and new skills to master.
So be creative about what your team can learn. An excellent approach is to ask individual team members to explain a) what training they’d like and b) how this exercise will help the team move towards its goal.
It’s essential to follow through with any training you’re offering. Don’t just talk about it, or start and then don’t finish. Support their learning with advice and sufficient resources, and follow up so that progress doesn’t just fade away.
And remember- regular learning and exciting tasks are high priorities for the Millennial generation, so you should build engagement and reduce team turnover with this development strategy.
5. Future-Proof Your Recruitment Process
Many busy managers only consider recruitment when there’s a vacancy that urgently needs to be filled. This is far too late and is an approach that will often result in poor hiring decisions, a shaky team, and a low-quality talent pool. A foresighted manager is always looking to the future, considering how they will build a team that remains consistently strong as individuals come and go.
Luckily, you don’t have to do this alone. If you retain the services of a strong, experienced building services recruiter, you’ll take advantage of their industry contacts, diverse talent pool, and their expertise in recruiting from trade schools, colleges, and universities.
Have a good discussion with your recruiter about your expectations and goals to ensure that they know precisely how vital future-planning is to your team.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask them to prove their specific sector experience, as a generalist recruiter just won’t cut the mustard in the highly specialised building services and renewables sector.
Following these 5 leadership strategies will help you build a high-performance, future-proofed team.