Be a Good Boss

Effective management will help you retain your top-performing employees

While the labor shortage faced by many painting contractors is being addressed by a variety of recruitment strategies, keep in mind that your skills as a manager will play a critical role in an equally important retention strategy.

In fact, being a good boss has likely never been more important in an industry that is placing a high premium on the value of workers.

Here are seven tips and strategies that can help painting contractors grow the management skills necessary to retain your top-performing employees, get more productivity out of those capable of contributing more, and lead your company effectively.

Communicate. Effective communication skills are vital in any management or leadership role. It’s not complicated — whether spoken or written, just make sure the individuals on your team have a clear understanding of the immediate tasks that lie ahead, what it takes to execute them, and why and how they’ll lead to project goals. Clear and effective communication is typically rewarded with greater trust and efficient performance. And a team that operates efficiently is usually one that operates happily.

Listen. Communication, of course, is a two-way street. Effective managers must listen as much as they talk, and that’s especially true in a painting contractor’s world. Your team members are on the front-line of operations, and likely have many ideas that could improve overall productivity. Hear them out, even if their message conflicts with any pre-conceived notions you may have developed. If you like their input, act on it. That’s as clear a message as any that you value them and their ideas.

Motivate. Let’s face it — some of the tasks a painter faces on a given day can be pretty mundane. Be sure your team members understand the importance of these tasks, and the overall big-picture value of their contribution. Set clear goals and objectives for your teams, and reward them for meeting their goals. And be sure to share some of the rewards of their productivity. The resulting loyalty will be worth every penny.

Build Them Up. There are many potential rewards in growing the skill set of your team members, and you may be pleasantly surprised to see a return in employee loyalty if you help grow their capabilities as well. Give them greater responsibility if they demonstrate new proficiencies, such as those offered by Sherwin-Williams Paint Pros Training Videos, or the ability to create bids with the easy-to-use Sherwin-Williams Project Bids Tool. This tool helps users create professional-looking bids whether they’re a seasoned pro or just getting started in the business. If you develop an employee who has expanded his or her capability to contribute and hopes to take their career to the next level, awesome!

Promote Positive Morale. A happy employee is a productive employee — not to mention an employee that is likely to stick around. Whether it’s a box of donuts for the morning crew, a round of drinks at the after-work happy hour or picking up a lunch, do what you can to make your employees want to come to work. A ballgame, a bowling outing, a community volunteer outing — create out-of-the-workplace team-bonding activities that are inclusive and appropriate to further build employee loyalty.

Roll Up Your Sleeves. Effective delegating is important, and clearly, you have different responsibilities than the rest of your team members. However, if and when such opportunities present themselves, grab a brush, a can of paint and get busy. You’ll demonstrate a collaborative working culture, build respect, and grow relationships with your team members that will further engender their loyalty. Plus, the opportunity to collaborate and observe your employees at work will help you gain valuable insight into their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Be Self-Aware. As a manager and leader, the little things you do often send a message that may have unintended consequences. For example, what does it say when you pull out your phone and check emails during a team meeting? That you don’t care? Understand that eyes are often on you and your behavior. When you’re dialed in, so is your team. And a dialed-in team is goal-focused, success-oriented, and typically loyal.

Being a good boss doesn’t mean that you have all the answers, all the time. It does mean, however, that you are willing and able to do what’s necessary to lead your team to collaborative successes.

And any team that is succeeding regularly is more likely than not to hang on to the people that help it succeed.