Teaching others to fish
Group Rental Manager Andrew Bensley congratulates every Level II promotion in Group SC with an email that always ends in the same fashion: ‘Give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish he’ll eat forever.’
Being an indoors-y person for most of my adult life this metaphor didn’t quite ring true with me. I don’t think at the time I fully appreciated the significance of his words.
However, within the first month of my new role it became clear that my success as a branch manager hinged entirely on the team I had surrounded myself with. Their development and progression within the company became just as (if not more) important to me than my own.
I understood that what Andrew was saying to me is with power comes responsibility, and that the most important duty for an Enterprise leader is to develop their team of people to be successful.
I spoke to area managers Abbie Edbrooke (SC) and Christeen Mendis (U1), who are relatively new to their current roles, while researching this article. I wanted to establish their thoughts on what branch managers can do every day to ensure their people are being developed and that they are engaged. These two branch managerial duties go hand-in-hand and are of the utmost importance. Together, we developed a simple five step guide on how to achieve these:
How to develop your team
- Start the day on a positive note with a well planned morning meeting. Make sure the team review yesterday’s customer service from the SFL, discuss branch revenue and individual sales targets and set goals for what everyone wants to achieve that day.
- Give the team at least eight to 10 pieces of feedback every day – this is on the spot training to help them improve. Keep it positive and constructive.
- Provide individualised feedback to the assistant manager - the assistant gives feedback to the team and the branch manager gives feedback on that feedback, it’s a flow!
- SOS from the front counter and always lead by example – remember you are the most experienced, and this sets the high standard that everyone will strive to achieve.
- Delegate daily tasks and regularly follow up regarding people’s progress with these.
How to engage your team
- Ask open-ended questions and listen to the answers they give. Questions can be both personal and professional, and both provide an insight into what motivates people.
- Positive reinforcement is key. Be sincere when speaking with your people as this goes a long way to building trust and engagement.
- Always put your team first. Make sure they feel appreciated and kept informed and involved in branch decisions.
- Give people ownership and autonomy to make choices for the good of the business. They will feel valuable and your branch will inevitably improve on the back of this.
- Make the role of branch manager attractive. Emulate the swan effect at all times and manage up if you are challenged. Never allow your team to see you stressed or frustrated - you don’t have to be, your manager is there to help you! This will help you be a credible leader.