How to Develop Strong Leaders Among Your Crew Members

A company owner can’t be all places at all times. At times you need to delegate, making it crucial that your employees are well equipped to take on leadership responsibilities.

How to Develop Strong Leaders Among Your Crew Members

Nelson Salas, owner of Amigo Rooter and Plumbing in Arizona.

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Every business in any industry requires good leaders to run a successful operation. The plumbing industry is no exception.

A plumbing company that lacks strong leadership will provide poor service and leave clients unhappy. A plumbing company that develops great leaders will create positive changes — inspiring other employees, finding creative ways to grow and holding everyone accountable to your clientele. Here are a few ways plumbers can develop quality leaders.

Create education opportunities

One of the qualities of a good leader is having a desire to learn. If you want to develop leaders, you should always give employees an opportunity to train and obtain new skills.

Nelson Salas, owner of Amigo Rooter and Plumbing in Arizona, says that he is always giving his team an opportunity to train because training is what develops better plumbers and better leaders.

“I always expect my team to get new certifications and keep up with all the new products and technology in our industry,” Salas says. “Continuing to learn is the only way your team is going to become better plumbers.”

Education does not have to mean spending money on expensive classes. Rather it’s being in constant communication. Hold regular meetings to talk with your team about ways they can improve. Salas says he will hop on a call with a plumber when they are tackling a difficult job in order to talk them through the process. He will also have his experienced plumbers help out the younger employees with their work. Giving prospective leaders a chance to coach new members of your team is an excellent way to show them they can lead.

Foster a culture of humility

Creating a culture of strong leadership means hiring humble employees. Good plumbers don’t need to be center stage and are willing to give credit to the team working alongside them.

Salas says being a humble boss is an important quality to have if you want to keep employees happy. He says he keeps himself humble by showing his team that no job is beneath him despite having over 20 years of experience. 

“I think it is important that a boss is willing to get his hands dirty in front of his guys,” Salas says. “When they see me getting dirty on my hands and knees and doing a job they don’t think the boss would do, it shows them that I respect the work they do and I have done it before.”

This also means being honest with your team when you mess up.

“When I make mistakes in the way I managed or delegated a job I am the first to admit to my team I did something wrong,” Salas says. “I can’t call myself a leader if I am not willing to accept blame for mistakes.”

Challenge your team to step up their leadership game

A good leader knows how to delegate and you, as the owner of your company, should take every opportunity to challenge your plumbers to step into leadership roles. Put prospective leaders in a position to try new responsibilities and be put in difficult situations they can overcome. This could mean having one of your plumbers lead a meeting or allowing them to take the reins on a job for the first time.

Trusting prospective leaders on your team signals to them that you value their contribution and shows that you trust them to navigate your business through conflict. A prospective leader that is able to confront a crisis and come up with solutions is no longer a prospective leader but a real one.

“The boss can’t be at all places at all times. You can’t do every job,” Salas says. “Eventually you have to delegate and trust that your guys can get the job done, and if you hired right, they usually come through.”

About the Author

John Waters is the principal of Waters Business Consulting in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is an expert at helping contractors develop leaders and grow their business.


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