Over my 30-year career in facilities management and construction, I have overseen many large commercial contracts and government facilities. In managing over 100 people, I learned how valuable it is to connect with your team and get to know their personalities as well as their expertise. You can only effectively identify your team members’ strengths by intentionally engaging with them. Rapport drives efficiency.
In my last two years as a Senior Program Manager for The Building People, I have flourished taking on new challenges and empowering my teams to solve problems while focusing on helping people thrive.
Here are some of my best practices for leading with a people-centric mindset as a facilities manager:
Know the Mission of the Facility
Research and learn the basics of the business and mission of the facility you’re supporting. This will help you make more effective decisions and enable you to provide better customer service. Be aware of the parts of the business you don’t know and utilize team members to help fill those knowledge gaps. Having some gaps is okay, but it’s challenging to fake knowledge and very easy to see through from a customer’s perspective. If you do not have the immediate solution to a problem for a customer, communicate this to them and get an answer as quickly as is practical while providing the best possible solution.
Know Your Team Members
Get to know your team and their personalities so you can support them more effectively. People are the lifeblood of your team. Without your people working well together, your team is at risk of failure. Understanding human nature and knowing your team members will allow you to work together more effectively, allowing the team to perform at their full potential. People are different and what might work for some, may not work for all. A good manager should be able to identify the different strengths of their team members and align them with the client’s priorities, enabling your team to meet and exceed their expectations.
Do Not “Act” Like An Expert
Learn general technical competency for critical areas, and do not try to act like an expert in any area you are not. You don’t have to be an expert in any one trade, but having a basic knowledge of the critical areas of a facility goes a long way. If you need an expert’s feedback in an area, defer to a teammate or consult someone before making any decisions. However, be 110% confident in the areas where you are an expert! It will earn you a pot of credibility! This way, if you are challenged (someone calls your bluff), you have all the aces in your hand.
Hold Yourself and Your Team Accountable
Be accountable not only for yourself but also for your team. If you will be held responsible for your team’s performance, it is fair to expect that you hold them accountable as well. Your team’s work is a direct reflection of you as their manager. If they are excelling, it will be a good reflection on you. If they are struggling, that will reflect on you as well.
Act With Confidence
Confidence! Confidence! Confidence! If you feel inadequate for the job you are performing, then you probably are. If you know in your heart that you and your team have what it takes for the team to succeed and that the team will rally behind you, then all you have to do is act like it. Recognize when gaps exist and fill them! Identify potential potholes and patch them! Don’t let a leak become a flood! Don’t let a spark become a fire! You are in control, and the bus riders will make it to the destination that you navigate them to.
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