by Tom Grandy
This article could apply to any person in any position but this month we are going to specifically focus on the technician that wants to move into management. Do all techs desire to move into a salaried position with additional responsibilities. Of course not but some do, so what is the process?
The process is a lot simpler than you might expect. To move you up, your work ethic and your attitude need to catch the attention of the company owner and/or your manager. Did you notice “skills to do the job” were not on the list? It’s kind of like being a college graduate. That piece of paper you earned will get you through the door. However once you are in the door, in most cases, someone within the company will teach you the specifics of the job you are filling. It’s the same for the individual in the technician role that wants to advance. You have to get in the door.
We have all been to fast food restaurants. If you are like me, every once in a while the employee behind the counter catches my attention for one of several reasons. It might be their smile, positive attitude and/or the way they made the extra effort to please you; which could happen in a variety of ways. The point is this. You instantly noticed they were different than most others in the same position. If my wife is with me and we notice an individual like that we usually have this little conversation at our table. It goes something like this. “You know what? That person that just waited on us will not be here long. With that kind of an attitude sooner or later a customer like us will contact them about working for their company.” And guess what? When we return weeks or months later the person is gone!
Did you catch the above phrase “You instantly noticed they were different than most others in the same position.”? No one told you they were different. They didn’t have a sign stuck on their forehead that said “I am different”. No one at the door said “Notice John or Suzie behind the counter, he or she does an exceptional job”. You just knew they were different without anyone having to point it out.
That is the beginning point for technicians that wish to move up within the ranks of the company. The owner and/or manager needs to notice without anyone saying anything that you are different. Let’s look are a few practical ways you can stand out from the crowd and be noticed:
• Show Up On Time Every Day – This might sound trite but it’s not. Owners and managers notice when employees consistently show up on time day after day, week after week, month after month and yes, year after year. Showing up a bit early each day (so you are ready to start work when the clock hits 7:30 AM) is simply icing on the cake. Look around at your fellow techs. How many of them show up on time every day? Those that do, stand out.
• Attitude – Remember the person behind the counter at the fast food restaurant? Their attitude instantly said they were different without a word having been spoken. A consistently good attitude will draw attention to an individual like bees to honey. Why? Individuals with consistently positive attitudes are rare and everyone wants a person like that on their team.
• Appearance – This is important. If you are a technician the first impression a customer has about you as an individual (which transfers to the customer’s perception of your abilities and the quality of work the company offers) is based on appearance. Is that fair? No. Is it real? Yes. Practice being a manager by dressing like one. Clean uniforms, combed hair and no visible body art all make a good impression. Your current look may be ok if you are a tech in the field. However, we are trying to catch management’s eye so start by being clean and neat in your general appearance. Believe me, management will notice.
• Team Player – Being a team player means putting other people’s interest and the companies’ above your own. The “all about me” individual will never be a team player so bloom where you’re planted. As a tech, help the other techs. Give them a hand when you see a need. Take care to return tools and/or unused parts to their proper shelf. If John needs help loading a truck and you want to get on to your job, well it’s time to die to YOUR needs. That’s what being a team player is all about.
• Paperwork – It is highly unlikely you will instantly do an outstanding job on paperwork if you were promoted. The time to “show” management you can handle that portion of the job is by doing it properly in your current position. Practice makes perfect and it also forms a habit. Few techs do a good job when it comes to paperwork. If you do a great job, guess what happens? Right, people notice!
• Pointing Out Ways To Improve – Owners and managers want things to run as smoothly as possible. That also means they are open to new ideas. As a technician you see how inventory is set up in the truck and probably have suggestions for improvement. You are constantly filling out forms and paperwork that could be redesigned to be more efficient. If you are assigned a specific truck, take ownership of it. Keep it washed, be sure regular maintenance is performed, drive it as if it were your personal vehicle and be sure it is properly inventoried so you can be as efficient as possible on the job. If repairs are needed, be sure management is notified. Share your thoughts and ideas with your supervisor. It will make you stand out.
• Taking Classes – Trust me. Any owner and/or manager worth their salt will notice when you start taking the initiative to improve you education and skill level and therefore your value to the company. If they see you are making the individual effort to improve your skill set that WILL impress them.
In summary, if you want to move up within the company, the best way to be noticed is to become an outstanding performer within the position you currently occupy. If you will take the initiative to excel in the above areas I promise you management will take notice and you will be seriously considered when an opening needs to be filled.