Managing Maintenance Employees Question
- I am a Maintenance Supervisor with a team of four. I mostly enjoy my assignment which I’ve had for about a year, but I find that I am managing personalities more than anything else. Do you have any suggestions for handling the demands of a prima (that’s what I said), an introvert that doesn’t talk to anyone, and a passive aggressive for my lead tech?
- It is true that you are managing people as well as maintenance. It’s also true that personalities can both compliment and complicate our ability to build and lead an onsite service team. The first thing that comes to mind is a return to the basics. You are managing performance that crosses personality boundaries. Often personality tendencies are dramatized or acted out when individuals believe that it will help them gain control. So, the first concern with building and leading a team is that performance is what matters. Performance standards must be established, communicated and rewarded. While personality can be incorporated to enhance performance often some standards are being ignored or avoided. If this is allowed, then team morale will suffer. Here’s an example – a prima gets recognition and often gets away with bending the rules like punctuality, documentation detail in their files, disrespecting a team member one minute then expecting help the next.
Trust me, everyone else on the team notices and responds according to their respective personalities. The introvert goes inside themselves making communication and recognizing this individual more difficult. The passive aggressive is angry but would rather wait to set a trap for the prima or their leader. Obviously, all these personalities acting out do not develop a team mentality.
You need to counsel with the team as well as the individuals. Be sure to keep your supervisor in the loop. In your meetings take leadership responsibility for not dealing with these issues sooner. Indicate that going forward you are also taking responsibility to get the team back on track with turns, response to all maintenance requests and common area routines; spell out expectations in writing within a 30-day plan of action. Sit down with individuals weekly to determine progress. During these meetings, be transparent and direct about your thoughts and intentions. Document and coordinate your actions with your community manager. By the end of the 30 days you should be able to determine what comes next for each team member. As the leader going forward, communicate sooner and keep everyone on a performance-based plan. Personalities will calm down with all the emphasis on performance, pride for team accomplishments and positive resident feedback.