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Trades Business Management 101: How To Lead Your Team Properly


Click on the video to watch it (Runtime 6 minutes and 33 seconds).

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If you’d rather read the transcript it’s here below.


How to lead your team of tradespeople?

You run a people business. A trades business is a people business.

You’re making money by your people going out there into the world and doing skilled work. And you make more money by having more people doing it (there’s not really any other way around that).

I’m a business coach for trades and builders and I help people grow and scale. I help people put the structure and the systems in place so you can grow, and scale and make more money properly. Part of that, if you’re a people business, of course, is to look after your people, properly.

You have a responsibility (if you’ve got a team) to your team and to yourself to do that properly, to put those structures and systems in place so you get the best from your team and so you give the best to your team, as well.

If you don’t do that, if you don’t put that kind of active effort and structure in place, you’ll be disappointed and so will they.

I talked last week about hiring and how important it is to hire good people, and to be disciplined and process-driven about your hiring.

Recommended Reading: Your 5 Step Hiring Process To Attract The Best Tradies to Your Team

I’m going to say something similar about leading them, and about managing them and about setting a culture. You want to lead them so they want to work for you, so they want to work hard for you, so they know where you’re going and what’s expected from them.

You want to manage them properly so they get that daily feedback of whether they’re doing a good job or not and what’s required.

You need to set a culture where we all look after each other. And we all know that we have to do the right thing where we’re driven and led by the same values.

So today, I’m talking about leading.

It’s very important. It’s a responsibility and it’s your responsibility. 

If you don’t lead well, they won’t follow you, will they?

Many people neglect this responsibility – and it’s really easy to do. 

You’re already busy. You want to hire people and grow your team so they can go and do work – not so that you have to do extra work leading them and managing them. I know we all feel resistance to this kind of extra responsibility. But, unfortunately, you’ve got to do it and if you don’t, you won’t be very happy.

You need to plan your leading and you need to continue your leading. It doesn’t end with a rousing speech like on the telly. You need to be leading them often and all the time –  on a regular ongoing basis. 

It’s not enough just to have the right attitude. A good attitude is an important part but it’s not enough on its own. And neither it is enough just to lead by example. That’s another thing that’s good to do – set a good example, lead by example, but on its own? It’s not enough.

You need to show them the way

This is a quote from a chap called John C. Maxwell who’s written about a million books on leadership.

He says, “The leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”

And it makes sense. That’s a job that needs doing.

Someone needs to know where we’re going and how we’re getting there. They need to show everyone else, and they need to lead the way and galvanize everybody.

Now, I was taught this process for leadership and I use that word deliberately –  like many things in business and like many things in business coaching, there’s a process. And you can learn it, and follow it and use it to help you.

I was taught this by a leadership trainer called Peter Farley, a coach in a leadership course called ‘Leading for results’. This is what you need to do in your business to lead your team (and of course, this is what I’ll I do if I’m your coach, and I’m helping you lead your team and I’m helping you to put this stuff into practice):

Step 1: Bring clarity.

If you’re going to show them where you’re going and the way there, you need to know. You need to have a plan.

You need to know where you’re going and you need to know how you’re going to get there – all those things that need to be done to get you there. It’s the first thing we do if we are doing a coaching program.

I think it’s quite important.

Step 2: Engage them

Once you’ve brought clarity to yourself, you need to engage them in that plan that you’ve built.

You need to show it to your team. You need to sell it to them.

You need to get them to see why the end result is desirable for us all. And you need to get them to see what their part in it is too. They need to see the context – the big plan, and then, they’re a bit in it as well.

Step 3: Test the Buy-in

You need to test their buy in. You need to check that they agree with the plan, that they like the goal, that they like the plan and think it will work, and that they will contribute and support it and that they understand their  part in it.

Step 4: Delegate the jobs

Then, you need to delegate accountability.

That means to make sure everyone’s clear exactly what their role is, and what their jobs are and how important they are to the plan. 

Step 5: Maintain the Momentum

You need to maintain the momentum. You’ve got to kind of hold the energy and keep everyone motivated.

You’ve got to show them that we’re making progress. You’ve got to show them that it’s working.

Step 6: Celebrate success

And the last thing, you’ve got to wave the flag – which is really about celebrating success, showing them that it’s working, celebrating that it’s working.

Usually, a plan like this or a strategy like this is quite long. You’re not doing it in a week. It’s 2, 3, or 5 years. So, along the way you’ve got to show them, have milestones and celebrations and you’ve got to recognize people’s contribution to the success you’ve had so far.

I hope that makes sense:

  • Bring clarity;

  • Know the way;

  • Get everyone buying in

  • Show the way and sell the way; and

  • Go the way yourself and lead the way.

And that’s leading. There’s a bit to it. Do it right and put the effort in, you’ll get good results for your team.

Don’t do it, you’ll be disappointed. 

Do it right – you’ll have committed people trying hard, doing the right stuff. You and your team will be pushing in the same direction.

And if you don’t do it, you’ll find everyone’s pushing in the direction they think is the right direction to push it, perhaps.

Do you want help from me? Of course, you do.

There are four ways you can engage with me:

  1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me – click here.

  2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers – click here

  3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop – click here.

  4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up – click here.

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About the Author

Jon Dale

Jon likes helping business owners and especially owners of trades businesses. Life can be a bit frustrating when you run a business and a trade business can be even more so. Jon reckons this stuff is fixable and that you can fix it by making some fairly simple changes to the way you do things. In fact, he runs a free monthly webinar to help explain the process further of moving your business from manual to scalable.

You can connect with Jon Dale on:

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