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By Dan Hounsell, Editor-in-Chief
Maintenance & Operations Article Use Policy
Maintenance and engineering managers devote a great deal of time and energy to sending things out, from e-mail responses and returned phone calls to management reports, spending requests, and department updates.
But with all that focus on output, how many managers leave time and energy for seeking input — specifically, from department staff?
Many of you received a survey from Facility Maintenance Decisions recently seeking your views on challenges and trends related to personnel management. In putting together the survey, one question caught my eye. It asked for opinions on the most important trait for managers related to successful personnel management. Among the possible responses was “listening.”
The response stood out to me because it is the opposite of many activities for managers, who spend so much time offering guidance, encouraging productivity, and talking to anyone who will listen about their departments.Listening, on the other hand, involves being quiet, letting someone else talk and, most importantly, taking in information.
It is understandable that listening often doesn’t get its due. Survival in institutional and commercial facilities requires that managers speak up for their departments and ensure everyone in the organization understands the vital role their department plays in bottom-line success.
That is exactly the reason listening is essential. Managers who solicit input from front-line technicians, supervisors and administrators get a clearer, fuller picture of a department’s activities and its image, as well as the true state of their facilities and the challenges they present. That knowledge is essential in developing and implementing successful projects and strategies.
To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “You can hear a lot just by listening.”