5 Tips for Effectively Leading a Crew

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Whether you’ve been leading a team in the field for years or you’re new to the role, chances are you still remember your days as part of the crew. And you probably also remember what you liked — and didn’t like — about your crew chief. 

Leading a crew is a big responsibility and one that comes with a lot of time commitments. But it’s critical that every crew leader take some time to invest in leadership skills. A good place to start is by looking into your past and asking: What did you like best about the crew leaders you worked for? Did they listen to you? Answer your questions? Were you confident that they had your back? Were they present on the job site or hardly ever available? 

The traits you valued most — and the ones you’ll want to emulate — follow the Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. Combine this Golden Rule mindset with a few actionable steps and you can bring out the best in your team.

Be organized — Take some time at the end of each day to look ahead at what’s coming the next day. Does your crew know where they need to be in the morning and what projects they will be working on throughout the day? Do they have what they need on their trucks?

Taking a few minutes to ensure your crew is set up for success on the job site will go a long way in earning the respect of your team. It also shows your crew that they can count on you. 

Lead by example — If you’re organized and efficient in the way you work, your crew will pick up on that and find ways to do the same. The same goes with being a hard worker. Work alongside your crew at times to show them that you’re still willing to get your hands dirty. It also demonstrates how you expect them to conduct themselves on a job site. 

Be approachable — Your crew will have questions and you want to make sure they feel like they can ask you for help. Whether that’s by phone, text or email, establish ways your crew can contact you and let them know it’s OK to have questions. 

Empower your crew — Ensuring your crew feels comfortable asking questions is one thing, yet you also want to make sure they know that they are empowered to make decisions without consulting you all of the time. Being in the know as a leader is important but don’t micromanage your crew; set them up for success. Empowering your crew will also go a long way in letting them feel they accomplished something personally and are benefiting the company through their role. 

Keep learning — Encouraging your crew to continue learning new skills and pushing yourself to do the same is important. Whether that’s attending a trade show to learn about new tools, reading a leadership book or asking your crew for feedback on how you can better support them, continuing to learn is vital to being an effective leader.

For some, leadership comes naturally. For others, it’s a learned skill. Either way, knowing your strengths and finding ways to address your weaknesses can go a long way in effectively leading your crew and establishing a positive work environment. 

About the Author

Scott Kruepke is a senior product development engineer at RIDGID, a global manufacturer of more than 300 dependable and innovative tools trusted by professional trades in over 100 countries. Learn more at RIDGID.com.  


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