Every industry thrives off the strength of strong leadership and contracting companies are no exception. A contractor that is missing competent leadership will provide subpar service and leave clientele unhappy. A contractor that develops great leaders will create positive change in their business by influencing their team to find creative ways to grow and hold everyone accountable to your clientele. Here are a few ways professional contractors can develop great leaders for their business.
Foster an educational environment
One of the qualities of a good leader is having a desire to learn. A good contractor is always learning new things which is why if you want to develop new leaders you should always give contractors an opportunity to train and obtain new skills.
Nelson Salas, owner of Amigo Rooter and Plumbing in Arizona said that he is always giving his team an opportunity to train because training is what develops better contractors and better leaders.
“I always expect my team to get new certifications and keep up with all the new products and technology in our industry,” Salas said. “Continuing to learn is the only way your team is going to become better plumbers.”
Johnny Pallares owner of commercial and residential cleaning company De La Rosa House Cleaning in Arizona said you must always give your employees opportunities to train and develop new skills because that is what molds great leaders.
“Great leaders are developed and that is why training is so important,” Pallares said. “We are always taking feedback, trying new techniques and learning about new products. A commitment to learning new things is the only way you become a better cleaner.”
Education opportunities do not mean spending money on expensive classes but being in constant communication. Hold regular meetings to talk with your team about ways they can improve. Salas said he will hop on a call with his contractors when they are going through a difficult job in order to talk them through the process. He will also have his experienced contractors help out the younger guys with their work.
Pallares at De La Rosa house cleaning also has his experienced cleaning staff shadow newer employees. Giving prospective leaders a chance to coach new members of your team is an excellent way to show them they can lead.
Challenge your team to step up their leadership game
A good leader knows how to delegate and you as the owner of your company should take every opportunity to challenge your contractors to step into leadership roles. Put prospective leaders in a position to try new responsibilities and be put in difficult situations they can overcome. This could mean having one of your contractors lead a meeting or allowing them to take the reins on a job for the first time.
“You want to put prospective leaders in a positive but challenging environment,” Pallares said. “You can slowly train them to be real leaders and you do this by giving them supervisor duties and letting them lead their own crew. As your supervisor grows as a leader the team under them will start to respect them more.”
Trusting prospective leaders on your team signals to them that you value their contribution and shows that you trust them to navigate your business through conflict. A prospective leader that is able to confront a crisis and come up with solutions is no longer a prospective leader but a real one.
“The boss can’t be at all places at all times. You can’t do every job,” Salas said. “Eventually you have to delegate and trust that your guys can get the job done and if you hired right they usually come through.”
Foster a culture of humility
Creating a culture of strong leadership means hiring humble contractors. Good ones don’t need to be center stage and are willing to give credit to the team working under them. A good leader understands he may be the head of his company but he can not work without his arms and legs.
Salas said being a humble boss is an important quality to have if you want to keep good contractors happy. He said he keeps himself humble by showing his team that no job is beneath him despite over 20 years of experience.
“I think it is important that a boss is willing to get his hands dirty in front of his guys,” Salas said. “When they see me getting dirty on my hands and knees and doing a job they don’t think the boss would do it shows them that I respect the work they do and I have done it before.”
Pallares also believes that good leaders work with the mindset that no job is beneath them.
““Showing your team that you understand how hard their job is better than telling them,” Pallares said. “My supervisors and I don’t ask anyone on our team to do a job that we wouldn’t do ourselves. Your team has to know you are willing to work with them so you can foster an environment of fair treatment and respect.”
This also means being honest with your team when you mess up and proving that even leadership is not beyond reproach.
“When I make mistakes in the way I managed or delegated a job I am the first to admit to my team I did something wrong,” Salas said. “I can’t call myself a leader if I am not willing to accept blame for mistakes.”
Contractors sink or swim on the strength of their supervisors which is why developing them into strong, charismatic and humble leaders will always benefit the growth of your business.
John Waters is the Principal of Waters Business Consulting in Scottsdale Arizona. He is an expert at helping contractors develop leaders and grow their business.