“Baking bread” by developing your cleaning/restoration business managers OR maybe just yourself!

It’s been a while since I chatted with you folks on my little SFS Instructor’s Blog “soap box”.  Time flies and I’ve been super busy.  Thanks for cutting me some slack!

Last time I posted I stated that you risk heaps of grief when you assume a new hire will be an effective manager in your cleaning and/or restoration company merely because you see “management experience” on their application.

hiring-the-bestYet hiring a manager, regardless of previous experience, is only the first step. The second trap we step into is to neglect to develop our newly hired managers. That is right- we forget to help them continually sharpen their management skills. We assume that because they were managers in a previous job that they’ll be effective managers for our cleaning business.

After all, you tell yourself- “Isn’t this what I’m paying top dollar for?  Somebody who knows what they are doing?” But how can your new manager(s) be effective in your company if you don’t provide them the opportunity to succeed?
This is why I see management development like baking bread.  Choosing the best ingredients is only the first step toward a successful loaf of bread.  The second step is to skillfully prepare the mix.

In the same way- the process of developing a good manager starts with choosing the right candidate- a person with the potential to be further developed. As stale ingredients make for stale bread, if you hire a manager who can’t be “developed” and worked with, you’ll end up with stale employees, subpar performance, and much needless frustration.

Consider that in making bread the dominant ingredient is flour. But flour can’t turn itself into bread. It’s an inert foodstuff. Flour on its own only has the potential to become bread. To be good bread it has to be combined with other ingredients and be skillfully mixed and “managed”.

In much the same way, people you hire or promote into management positions only have the potential or opportunity to effectively manage the people in your company. Their past experience, no matter how successful they’ve been, is no guarantee they’ll succeed in their new positions. It simply indicates they have the potential to be successful.

We make a huge mistake when we complacently abandon our responsibility to continually develop our managers. We can’t assume it’ll automatically happen because they’ve managed people in the past and we think it’s “their job” to manage well.

Remember that it is the baker’s responsibility to make the bread; to both add the required ingredients and to skillfully mix everything for a great-tasting result. Likewise, no matter what position you occupy in your company’s organization it’s your job to find good people and provide them the opportunities to develop the skills they need to grow within your company.

There is a further complication to this second trap of abdicating your responsibility to monitor and develop your managers.  When you promote from within it is easy to confuse native skills, work ethic, and willingness to work long hours with the ability to manage. You no doubt you have loyal employees, those who remain when everyone else seems to come and go through the revolving employment door, and you correctly appreciate them very much.

But you very likely will do everyone a huge disservice (including the loyal employee) when you prematurely make them managers. The problem is you confuse their uncomplaining loyalty with management potential.  Remember that just because someone is a workhorse it does not make them a manager.  If you doubt me just Google the phrase, “The Peter Principle”!

Or even worse, we promote hard working employees and fail to give them the management training they need to succeed. We hang them out like piñatas. On one side they get whacked by previous co-workers. On the other they get whacked by us as owners. This is not a pleasant place to be, and certainly one that is avoidable when we recognize our responsibility; the owner as the baker of good bread must be in charge of the entire “Manager Development Process.”  Wow, I’m getting hungry- time to go make a sandwich out of my freshly baked bread!

NOTE:  Call me prejudiced but I can’t imagine a better seminar to develop your managers than Jon-Don’s five day Strategies for Success seminar.

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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