5 habits of great shop managers

June 8, 2022
Even though there are a number of resources out there on how to be a great manager, it can be hard to know where to start. Check out these five simple tips you can try at your workplace.

Being a manager is a tough task. There are many individual needs that need to be met in order to create a positive and productive work environment. Even though there are a number of resources out there on how to be a great manager, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some simple things you can easily incorporate into your everyday routine to make sure your management game is on point.

1. Be transparent and fair

According to Glassdoor, transparency in the workplace boosts employee happiness, engagement, culture, communication, and more. This is why it is important for shop managers to be upfront with their technicians, especially on things that can affect their lives and work situations like:

  • Flat rate, billable hours, chargebacks, and other KPIs that can impact production bonuses or paychecks
  • Bill rate vs. labor rates
  • Non-negotiable changes (i.e., work schedules, time off, etc.)
  • Work assignments

2. Walk around the shop

Managers have to make time for their most important assets, their technicians, or they run the risk of losing them. Managers, busy or not, should make time to regularly go talk to their technicians. When chatting it is important for the manager to make a note of something specific about the employee, work or non-work-related. Pointing out something specific resonates deeper with a technician rather than just saying, “Hey, good job Mike.”

It’s also important to create a shop environment that promotes open communication. This makes it easier for managers to understand their technicians both personally and professionally which can help align goals and make it easier to work through any future issues.

3. Dust off your wrench

Shop managers shouldn’t hesitate to step in to help their techs. It is great for the technicians to know that their leader is there for them, but it also reminds the shop manager of what it’s like to be in their technicians’ shoes. This approach can also help managers discover some inefficiencies in the shop that they wouldn’t have noticed sitting behind a desk.

4. Lower your voice and close the door

Businesses, where managers raise their voices to get their point across, are known to have lower productivity and morale. Even those that aren’t a direct target of the criticism can suffer. Shop managers need to remember to keep things calm, and if things do get heated, handle the situation by:

  • Scheduling an appropriate time to talk, if possible
  • Taking the situations behind closed doors
  • Presenting the facts
  • Listening to the technician
  • Developing a plan
  • Documenting the conversation
  • Checking in with the technician later on

5. Keep health in the spotlight

Most blue-collar workers, technicians included, are known to have significant health issues. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, in 2020 there were 9,940 nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases that caused technicians to be away from work.

Here are some simple things that managers can do to help their team achieve a long and healthy career at the shop:

  • Start a no-smoking policy
  • Find gym membership discounts
  • Encourage technicians to take time off for regular health check-ups
  • Invite the company to do a physical activity (i.e., bowling, charity walk, yard games, etc.)
  • Set an example for techs (i.e., eat healthy, exercise, get regular health check-ups, etc.)
  • Bring fruit to the breakroom instead of donuts 

Article originally published on WrenchWay.com

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