Leadership: The Building Block of a Successful Maintenance Department

A strong leader cannot reach their goals alone. They must build a team and work side-by-side with the group making sure everyone knows the expectations and the final goal they are striving to achieve. The leadership of the maintenance department sets the tone. The tone develops the culture in the workplace. The culture determines the atmosphere and the atmosphere defines how the people feel about their work and where they work.

Set the Tone: Make your expectations known

While this may be easier if you are just starting out in a leadership role at your organization, it is never too late to change! Humans are uncomfortable with change and the unknown. Let your team know what you expect and what to expect out of you. Stick to those declarations once they have been made.

Create the Culture: Consistency

While it may take some time for the team to adjust to your terms, consistent enforcement will define the expectations on both sides of the coin. After working together for some time, the employee knows what the leader is looking for and what his/her demeanor will be. Based on past performance, the leader knows the quality of work s/he can expect from his/her employee. Both parties will benefit from the consistent and stable working relationship they have fostered.

Define the Atmosphere

As the leader, you may expect that w­­hen a piece of equipment is serviced, it is serviced “properly”. You have defined “properly” to your team as fully executing the SOP’s for that piece of equipment, not just greasing the squeaky wheel. You also understand that the “proper” fix may take longer and cost a bit more than a temporary fix. Ensure you are providing adequate time, resources and training so that the work can be completed to your expectations the first time around.

Attitude: Acknowledge the Positives

By allowing the technician to complete a task to the best of their abilities, they now have pride in their work. When your entire department is feeling good about their accomplishments it is hard for the negativity in the group to bring everyone down. Communicating to your team that they are doing well and that you appreciate their work is essential for fostering a positive work environment.

Whether you are in a new leadership position or have been leading for years, it is never too late to make a plan for improvement. Write a list of expectations and how you will enforce them. Schedule a department meeting to discuss the changes you are making and why you are making them. Allow  everyone to get accustomed to the changes. Listen to and consider suggestions from the team. Enforce the new ideas consistently but remember change takes time, you are running a marathon, not a sprint!


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