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Facilities Management Journal March 2017

FEATURE FROM THE TOOLS business, working shoulder-to-shoulder on a daily basis with the people on the ground who really understand what matters to the end user, helps to manage client relationships.” Moving up from a grassroots role is not without its diff iculties too, according to Sparrow: “When you take over the driving seat, it can take time to make the transition from earning respect as a manager rather than a colleague. You have to establish yourself at a new level and become detached in order to delegate.” At Lister hospital, 90 per cent of the facilities managers have come from operations. Sparrow believes “it’s good to have people who can personally identify with the challenges of the operations team,” but that working alongside academically qualified managers brings the optimum mix. “We need people who can detach themselves and bring a rounded view of the situation.” OCS’s head of cleaning, Yvonne Taylor began her career in FM as a pot washer in a service station in 1995. She moved into catering, into a healthcare FM role and then into a multi-service soft service role “doing catering, cleaning, and you name it…” Aft er being given the opportunity to undertake two management development courses, Taylor was appointed to consultancy, business improvement and head of service roles. “I’ve always kept a foot in operations,” she comments, “and have kept the staff at the coalface at the forefront of my mind when doing anything.” She continues: “I understand their roles and diff iculties, and any new methods of working or processes have to be of absolute benefit to them. Every idea and solution is tested in live operations. There’s not just a ‘me’, there’s a team. 32 MARCH 2014 2017 Buy-in from your staff is essential, otherwise, no matter how good your idea, you’re not going to be successful.” Taylor stresses the importance of living the job. “Don’t just rely on classroom knowledge and never be afraid to go back and see what it’s like on the front line.” MUTUAL RESPECT David Kentish, director of peoplechange experts Kentish and Co, encourages managers who come from diff erent directions and diff erent backgrounds to show respect for each other. “They have both earned the right to be there,” he says, “and both styles of management can work equally well. However, going into management from the tools is not just a step up in responsibility, it requires a mental adjustment and a diff erent mindset and approach. It can be a very diff icult transition period for everyone. To achieve it successfully requires help, training and support. If a company values someone enough to put them into a managerial role, then it is their duty to provide that support. “Many managers who have been promoted from an operational level will work towards qualifications so that they feel they are being taken seriously,” he continues. “The qualification gives them an additional belief in themselves and an external verification of their ability. When managers have qualifications, but do not have the practical, on-the-job experience, there’s a diff erent mindset. They feel confident and competent to get on with the job.” By contrast, when Francesca Smith started working in her family’s specialist cleaning company Bright Hygiene at the age of 26, before starting to work in the off ice and taking over the managing director role, she wanted to earn her stripes and become a better manager by first learning every job in the company. “I wanted to find out why, understand the business better, find out where the ‘hit and miss’ was taking place, and find the route to improving customer service. Learning everyone’s job meant that there was complete transparency and trust. I can’t be fooled and the staff respect that I know what I’m talking about. I then went on to study for business management qualifications. This, and talking to other managers, helped to reaff irm that I was doing things right.” Smith explains: “It makes me a better manager. I understand exactly how the client sees the business and the key customer touch points. There’s a strong team connection and I’m more likely to get to know if there’s a problem. I still go back and clean on a very regular basis. But everyone has their own groove. Some people are scholarly and others are hands on. My advice to anyone for being a good manager is to trust your gut and have great people around you.” ATTITUDE IS THE KEY David Kentish agrees that good management is largely about attitude. “Where businesses want to find a talent pipeline with great managerial and leadership skills, whether the applicant has good qualifications or has several years’ experience, the one key attribute that either candidate must have is a mindset that embraces collaborative co-operation and communication to drive the organisation forward. The people skills can be nurtured with the right training, but the attitude that enables the learning to be absorbed is crucial.” Duncan Short concludes that the best model for management is having people who have worked their way up the business and then gained professional qualifications to broaden their base and increase their opportunities, while graduates are encouraged to get a practical grounding: “Marrying the two is extremely powerful.” One of our key objectives was not just to % holistic environment, but to use ”


Facilities Management Journal March 2017
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