Rental Industry's Enhanced Focus on Leadership

Are your rental industry managers truly the leaders you need them to be?

Leadership and the Rental Business
@Tomasz Zajda -

In my column in the January/February issue of Rental, I briefly mentioned the importance of training supervisors to become great leaders. This topic is so vital to the success of every rental company that I’m devoting this month’s entire column to it.  

The title of ‘manager’ should be more than a reward for staying with your company for years. It means more than "person who gets a key to the store," and conveys more authority than you would entrust your counterpeople with.

Are your managers truly the leaders you need them to be?

Some supervisors are not true leaders. If your managers or supervisors are not as effective as they should be, it would be wise to discover what can (and should) be done about it.

Many rental business owners find it difficult to objectively analyze the leadership skill level of their supervisorsespecially people they have known for years. Sometimes it is difficult to uncover the possibilities when one is in close daily contact with them. You may not be the most effective at training them in the skills needed to take your company to the next level.

One of the ways to train rental business managers and other supervisors is to have training conducted at the rental company and specifically for that one company. I have found that most of these individuals are eager for the education that empowers them to plan, organize, direct, and control in a much more effective way.

In my opinion, most supervisors have simply never been taught the correct way to set goals for their team and few have been taught to properly delegate. Many are very frustrated in not knowing how to handle a wide variety of the duties you want and need them to be proficient in. Some also feel that they are not prepared to handle the challenges they faceespecially employee motivation. It is extremely important that supervisors feel confident and strong in the performance of their duties, both for their own sake and for the entire team’s morale.

A few additional thoughts and opinions for your consideration:

  • A critically important aspect of leadership is a focus on productivity. The drive for increased productivity is essential, especially due to today’s employment reality and with ever-increasing competition. Your managers need to set a good example for the rest of your team and help everyone to get more done.
  • Effective leaders can be developed. Of course, certain leadership traits are difficult to teach and some individuals are not cut out to be supervisors. It can be helpful to contact an experienced professional consultant to determine what to do with an unsatisfactory manager.
  • Some supervisors don’t respond to coaching and some may not treat their teammates as equals. But many or most supervisors just haven’t been taught the principles of motivation, delegation, the related leadership principles, and respond quickly to the proper educational experience.
  • Teach supervisors to excel in both the technical portions and the "people part" of their positions. Your managers will likely be called on to smooth over tense situations. Their decision-making and initiative must be up to this task and many others.
  • Train supervisors to be as positive and upbeat as possible. Great leaders remain cool, calm, and positive even during tough situations. Remind them that they are setting an example for others in the organization. They should serve as a positive role model.
  • Remember that when it comes to leadership training, a "learn as they go" program is not a systemit’s a recipe for supervisors being unprepared to maximize daily opportunities in the business.
  • Convince your supervisors of the importance of giving a proper amount of structured initial orientation to the culture and systems for their reports as well. Also, be certain that the initial orientation is followed by reinforcement of the concepts as needed. This is what effective leaders do.
  • Consider instituting rewards and other perks for your leaders. Have some well-crafted, specific to your rental company, performance-based incentives for them. I believe that performance incentives can be an important part of making work more interesting and can boost overall morale.

Finally, focus your leadership training initiatives on the most likely to become effective leaders. Remember, just because someone has considerable product knowledge or has been with you for many years doesn’t mean that they are the best choice as a leader.

The decisions of who to have in leadership roles and the leadership training they receive have a profound and lasting effect on the growth and profitability of a company. Expect more and believe that better leadership from those in supervisory positions is one of the most important initiatives for your company now and into the future.