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Transferring Facilities Management Leadership Skills
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: How to Build Your Facilities Management LegacyPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: How Will Your Facilities Management Organization Proceed Without You?Pt. 4: Why Communication, Documentation Are Critical Components of FM LegacyPt. 5: FM Pulse: Salary Survey Data Shows Optimism from FMs
It’s important to think about the leadership characteristics you want your staff, your company’s senior management, and your customers to attribute to you.
As the facility leader, you are well versed in how your facility management services support the corporate business mission. It’s important for every facility staff member — from the customer service representative to your management team — to be just as well schooled in how their efforts can make or break the success of the company overall.
For example, you have worked hard to ensure your facility management organization is known throughout the company for delivering superior service and you want the reputation to continue. To achieve this status your staff has invested heavily in strategic planning, creating performance indicators, providing feedback to customers and developing continuous improvement activities — or have they? Suppose you weren’t there to initiate these efforts. Would the staff know how to link performance indicators to future corporate business missions, continue involving customers in service evaluation and assess ways in which the organization can contribute to strategic improvement plans?
One way to develop staff skills was described by Andrew Thorn, author of Leading with Your Legacy in Mind. Thorn says it is important to pass on ownership for the organization long before a leader exits. To do this, he encourages leaders to structure organizations such that staff have ownership for whole projects instead of disconnected tasks. The leader should focus on the final outcome, rather than the means and methods to accomplish it, so staff can evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Paying ownership forward allows staff to test the waters of their decision-making capabilities and also enjoy the rewards for successful completion in a “safe” environment because the leader is still there for support.
The companion action to the above is to constantly empower staff to take on and do more, while providing less and less control. The legacy of a great facility leader happens only when the leader places staff in positions to do great things on their own.