Todd Kramer of Kramer Tree Specialists has more than 25 years of experience under his belt. As Kramer Tree Specialists grew in success, he began consulting other tree service companies that were having issues running a successful business.
“We could give them tips on how to be more productive, but I started to realize the root of many of these problems was failed leadership,” Kramer said.
At the Tree Care Industry Association’s TCI EXPO in Columbus, Ohio, Kramer offered up some tips to tree care industry professionals looking to lead and manage their crews better.
- Have a “lead from the front” attitude. Kramer stressed that this doesn’t always mean getting out there and doing the work yourself. It’s important to put yourself in a position where your crew members look to you for the example.
- Use your soft skills to lead. Oftentimes, leaders get selected because they can use their skills to complete a task. Good leaders need to have soft skills along with those “hard skills.” Soft skills include being approachable, easy to talk to, and actively listening when your crew member has a suggestion or concern.
- Manage stress. “As leaders, we almost have to just stuff our stress right down inside of us sometimes,” Kramer said. Leaders need to be able to diffuse stressful situations for their employees by offering some help and reassurance that the team will be able to get their job done.
- Know your most important asset. The people who work for you are your most important asset, Kramer says. Without them, you would have no team. Kramer suggested listening to your team as well as observing them throughout the day.
- Be a coach. A key difference between being a boss and being a leader is that a leader coaches his crew to succeed. “The goal of coaching is to enable your crew to act independently,” Kramer said. Offering to show your workers a new skill or explain why a certain task is done the way it is will provide knowledge and skill to your crew.