Strong HVAC, plumbing, and electrical independent contracting company leaders have to possess an array of great skills; two of which being the ability to reassure their team as well as the ability to effectively recognize their team members.  Developing into a strong leader that wins the trust of his team requires practice and growth in these two valuable areas. Today, we are going to delve into how strong leaders recognize their team members and how strong leaders ensure that their team members know he “really needs them.”

Part of being a leader is having the ability to manage people and regulate a company culture.  One way that great leaders do this is by regularly and purposefully recognizing and encouraging the members of their team.  A company team must know that their leader thinks they are an integral part of the team and that their skills and assets are important to the company’s overall success before they will be able to possess complete confidence in their day-to-day job.  Ron Smith touches on the importance of recognition in his book HVAC Spells Wealth and he poses this important question: “Do they [your team] know that you really need them?”  Below, we will discuss ways in which leaders can develop their ability to recognize their team so that every member can answer “yes, I know my leader and team needs me.”  

-Teach yourself to identify moments and situations that are deserving of recognition-

It is important for growing leaders to know the fine line between purposeful recognition and pointless recognition.  Purposeful recognition should be reserved for moments when specific team members stand out for their work ethic, positive attitude, amazing service excellence, or outstanding work on a job.  A great question to ask yourself when trying to determine if a moment or situation is deserving of recognition is this: “Is this person simply doing what his job requires of him or is he going above and beyond?” If an employee continuously gets praise and recognition for simply completing the tasks in their job description then when they do something to truly stand out, receiving recognition for it is less meaningful.  While regular praise and encouragement is a wonderful trait of a leader, it is important to keep check on when praise is given and why praise should be given. Thus it is important for leaders to learn what moments and situations call for resounding public praise, a quiet pat on the back, or nothing at all.

-Learn how each member of your team likes to be recognized-

Once leaders develop a keen understand of moments that deserve recognition it is important that a leader then learn how each of their team members like to be recognized.  Some may want to be recognized in a more public manner in front of their family and team members while others may want private, one-on-one recognition with few people on-looking.  The way that people like to be recognized relies heavily on their personality type thus it is important for leaders to have an understanding of the four main personality types (Driver, Analytical, Expressive, and Amiable) and a general understanding of how their team members fall into these categories.  When a leader takes time to understand his team members’ personality types, then he will be able to better relate to his team members and recognize them in situations that are most comfortable and meaningful for them.

-Remember to praise publicly but reprimand privately-

While team members’ personality types and traits play a role in how they feel about public recognition; it stands true across the board that individuals would prefer praise in public but correction and criticism behind closed doors in a one-on-one setting.  It is important for leaders to remember this skill when dealing with positive and negative recognition.  When a person is praised in some type of public setting it boosts their confidence, improves self-esteem, and makes them feel part of a team but when a person is reprimanded publicly it tends to bring them embarrassment, generate anger, and make them feel disconnected from the team.  Strong company teams can come apart at the seams when members are continuously embarrassed and criticized in a public setting because it degrades an individual’s confidence and lowers their ability to learn and grow.  By simply practicing and remembering to utilize this skill of “publicly recognizing and privately correcting” can make team members respect you, trust you, and appreciate your recognition and input as a leader.

-Let your company employees know that they are an important piece of the team- 

While recognition seems to be something that only benefits an individual, it actually greatly benefits a company team.  When team members see one of their teammates receiving praise, it calls their attention to what others on their team do on a day-to-day basis.  Many times independent contracting companies have little time for technicians, CSRs, dispatchers, and managers to know what other team members are doing throughout the day but when a leader recognizes the hard work and success of an employee, it causes all other team members to think about what their teammates do to help drive overall company success.  Recognition also works to benefit a team because it encourages a group of individuals to come together to create a success-driven team that works to benefit each other.  Group recognition is also a great way for a leader to let his entire team know that they are needed, respected, and valued.

Leaders that know when and how to recognize and encourage their team members are appreciated and esteemed leaders in the world of independent contracting.  When a growing leader knows how to purposefully recognize, understands how team members wish to be recognized, practices public praise but private correction, and remembers to praise his team as a whole; then he is on the path to successfully growing and strengthening his leadership skills and his company team. We love helping great leaders recognize their great potential! Thank you for following our weekly posts.  Here at Service Excellence Training, we turn learning into earning!

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.