Since most HVAC contractors come from a strong technical background, it is not surprising that leadership skills are not often one of the tools in their skill set.
They often consider leadership skills as secondary. That idea can lead to a disorganized, chaotic team that leads YOU, rather than you leading them.
Ask yourself how often you fight fires rather than focus on building a team that fights them for you. Very likely you have been in business long enough to realize you simply cannot do everything on your own (even though you probably want to). Most contractors have a clear vision of their future and even how they want to get there, but keep it within their own head.
Learn to share your dream of the future and involve your team in your plans
The key to leading others is learning how to motivate them to take you where you want to go, while believing it is their idea to get there. Leading your team requires being proactive: you must be able to present a vibrant picture of a shared future, to energize others to deliver your vision and create one of their own.
So let’s define terms: People often confuse words “leader” and “leadership” with people who are just excellent managers. True leaders orchestrate and organize transformational change that affects lives… in a positive way. They set the vision and inspire others to become excited and enthusiastic, becoming a part of something larger than just following day-to-day activities.
For sure, it takes management skills to lead effectively. Managers must guide the team through the changes necessary to reach your dream. They manage change addressing concerns and fears that naturally come from facing the unknown. Managers link performance goals to the overall vision in a realistic way their team can get on board with. In other words, that’s the management piece.
An easy way to recognize a leader is to see others who follow, just because they want to. People constantly watch leaders for their own behavior, as a model of the standards to follow. They actually come from all areas in the company. Those in leadership positions are not braggarts, but humble in their sincere desire to elevate every individual to be their best. This takes a true understanding of the team, with a servant attitude to help everyone realize their full potential.
Furthermore, a real leader cares about each team member and understands the heavy responsibility of nurturing the team’s future. Supportive leaders look for potential in others, recognizing strengths to cultivate. Leaders guide the team through the journey and know when to step back to let others take the lead. By developing leadership skills within the team, an environment is created that lets others soar, building and cementing long term success.
Being the boss is not easy, to be sure, but being a good leader is even harder; it means constantly working on being the best that you can be and bringing out the best in others. You owe it to your team and you owe it to your future.
Here are some tips to build and cement your future as a leader in your company
- Share your vision of the future often, inviting team input.
- Don’t let emotions guide decisions. Using emotions in any decision is a bad practice and leads to confusion among the team.
- Handle problems fairly and face hard decisions head on. Don’t try to avoid conflict; instead, handle it up-front and honestly.
- Delegate and then let the work speak for itself. Don’t pick up the slack that others create; elect to coach and mentor the team to perform better. Challenging your team to do their best works for you, for them, for customers, and for the company.
- Authorize decisions with a full understanding of what it takes to follow through. Make final decisions consulting the people you trust with experience in specific areas.
- Recognize and reward your team’s efforts. Make sure you show appreciation and reinforce the right behaviors creating your company culture.
- Be the example with humility and transparency within your team. You are not perfect; your team needs to know you are constantly seeking to improve and are eager to embrace learning opportunities, just as you expect from them.
Leadership is a substantial responsibility. Know that you mold the future of your employees, your customers, and your company with the decisions you make. Strengthen your dreams by developing leadership skills that grow your full potential and promise everyone’s future is brighter.