They say there’s a distinct difference between a boss and a leader: A boss is an individual in charge of an employee or an organization while a leader is an individual who possesses the ability to positively influence and inspire others to achieve a shared goal or objective. They lead by example, not command.
Communication and transparency
While communication is crucial for the success of any business operation, it is even more so in fleets. With so many deliveries and drivers coming and going at random hours, frequent check-ins and encouragement of transparency ensure that nothing crucial goes unaddressed. By doing so, you could improve efficiency within operations, reduce downtime and potentially even boost your bottom line. Fleet managers can communicate important information to drivers such as route changes, schedule adjustments, and maintenance needs in real time. By having a better understanding of their daily responsibilities, drivers can adjust their workloads and prioritize tasks to increase their efficiency.
In turn, this can lead to greater productivity as operations are streamlined and carried out in the most effective manner. On top of this, keeping everyone on the same page is great for customer service. With everyone on the same page, it’s easier to provide consistent and reliable information to customers regarding your services.
Never stop learning, teaching
It’s been established that this industry is under constant development, that said, there is always something to learn. With technology such as artificial intelligence, the development of electric and hybrid vehicles, the increased use of aggregated telematics systems and the implementation of ADAS components onto today’s trucks, the way we service and pull information from a vehicle is always evolving. Take some time to see how these industry updates are impacting your operations and communicate these changes to your team.
Many vehicles now come equipped with diagnostic systems that allow service managers to remotely identify and troubleshoot problems before the truck even rolls back into the bay. While this is great for improving downtime, it has led to a greater need for service managers to be familiar with telematics systems and how to use them to diagnose and repair vehicles. Techs will need to focus on how service solutions can improve a vehicle’s repair procedures. Also, be sure to understand the needs of advanced sensor technologies that are being used in today’s trucks and communicate it with your time.
Roll with the punches
Being in this industry means walking a tightrope between preparedness and flexibility. On one hand, you have to think ahead of the game – scheduling maintenance before a breakdown, planning deliveries based on the number of drivers you have, and keeping up with the updates your software requires to ensure the accurate collection of data – On the other hand, this industry is full of unexpected surprises to work around. Routing issues, extreme weather, unexpected breakdowns, malfunctioning equipment, and fluctuations in the market. Regardless of how hard you try to avoid these things, you will inevitably run into these obstacles.
Be a team player
No one likes a complacent boss, if you haven’t had the chance to work for one, let me give you a basic rundown on what you could expect out of them: Nothing.
Don’t be the boss who sits in the comfort of the closed-off office completely detached and unaware of what’s going on with the operations you should be managing. Stay involved with the big and small decisions of the company. Don’t get complacent – it has no place in fleet operations.
Pass the torch
One of the most important aspects of effective leadership is the ability to delegate tasks to trusted individuals. This not only allows you to focus on higher-level responsibilities, but it also helps develop the skills and capabilities of your team members. Whether through coaching or simply having confidence in their abilities, empowering your number twos to handle the day-to-day tasks on your plate can lead to improved productivity and better results for the organization. In fact, with the right support and guidance, your trusted deputies may even exceed your own capabilities, bringing new perspectives and fresh ideas to the table.
As a leader, you have to be selfless and come to the realization that this is not about you. Actually, it’s about everything but. When things are going well, you can ride the wave of success alongside your team, but when it’s time to make the tough decisions, shying away shouldn’t be your first approach.
There’s no such thing as the perfect leader. It’s all about growth and learning as you go. Think about someone who once led you – what characteristics did they encompass that made you respect their opinions and trust their decisions? The answer is a little bit different for everyone but once you have it, you can work to mirror these traits within your own role to support the continued success of the company and the development of your team.
Fleet Equipment’s On The Road is sponsored by Rockland Flooring. Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every episode as we dive into the best practices and servicing information to keep your trucks On The Road.