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Grow with Grunder: Be the leader your team needs

March 19, 2020 -  By
Photo: Marty Grunder

Photo: Marty Grunder

With spring about to bloom, everyone in our industry is going to get incredibly busy. Most companies I know are continuing to grow — some quite rapidly — as the economy keeps humming along and demand for our services remains strong. These are good problems to have, of course, but they can also lead to some stressful days. While making a team work is every team member’s job, those in leadership roles bear a special responsibility. They set the tone and expectations for the whole company.

I am by no means a perfect leader, but I have worked hard to become a better one over the years. Here are some truths I’ve learned that I hope will help you get through the season ahead:

People don’t follow angry leaders. I will readily admit I can be an intense guy. When I was younger and new to being a business owner, it often did not take much to set me off. If a team member made a mistake, I would get upset, probably say something in the heat of the moment I would regret later and then stew over it a long time. But as I grew more experienced, I came to realize that when you react to a problem with anger, all people see and hear is the anger, not the problem.

Now, when something doesn’t go the way I wanted it to at my landscaping company or green industry consultancy, I take a step back, ask questions rather than jump to conclusions and examine my own role in what happened. Did I fail to set clear expectations? Do I need to train my teams better? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? What lessons can we all learn to help us all get better for the future?

Every role matters. When we’re busy and stressed, there’s a tendency to focus on what’s wrong and take for granted what’s right. Many of us are fortunate enough to have dedicated right-hand men and women on whom we can rely to deliver for big projects and save the day when it needs saving, and most of us do a pretty good job of recognizing and rewarding these standouts — as we should. They’re instrumental to our success. But so too is the third guy or gal on a crew who shows up on time every day and efficiently accomplishes the unexciting but necessary tasks like mowing and weeding and edging. Find ways to acknowledge their contributions, too, especially during the busy season. Write them a personal thank-you note, bring them lunch on a job site, single them out at your next all-team meeting.

Respect your team’s time away from work. Just because your team is technically reachable at all times does not mean you should contact them whenever you want or think you need to. We all need time away from work to relax and recharge, whether it’s in the evening, on the weekend or during a vacation. Before you fire off that next text or email during off-hours, ask yourself if the subject can’t wait until the next workday. If it can wait — as is almost always the case — hold off and let your team enjoy their time to themselves. I’ll guarantee you’ll be rewarded with a much more engaged and productive team at work, when you need them most.

I hope you have a wonderful, prosperous spring, and I’ll see you next month!

This article is tagged with , and posted in 0320, Business
Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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