Lead the Facility Organization

Leaders always develop a vision for future and there by establish direction. After that, they communicate their vision to their disciples and motivate them to overcome the hurdles. In other words, leadership is defined as ability to influence a group towards achieving the desired goals. Organizations do need strong leadership as well as strong management for the real effectiveness in their achieving of objectives. In today’s dynamic world, we need creative leadership with dominating vision for future and effective skill in inspiring organizations and the employees to achieve their objectives.

The most common traits in the characteristic of leadership are:

  • Empathy: Creating a good rapport with your staff makes it less likely that personal issues and resentment can come in and derail the group. When your team knows that you are empathetic to their concerns, they will be more likely to work with you and share in your vision, rather than have negative feelings.
  • Consistency: Being a consistent leader will gain you respect and credibility, which is vital l to getting buy-in from the group. By setting an example of fairness and credibility, the team will want to act the same way.
  • Honesty: Another characteristic of leadership that lends itself to credibility. Those who are honest, especially about concerns, make it far more likely that problems will be addressed rather than avoided. Honesty also allows for better evaluation and growth.
  • Direction: Having the vision to break out of the norm and aim for great things –then the wherewithal to set the steps necessary to get there– is an essential feature of good leadership. By seeing what can be and managing the goals on how to get there, a good leader can create important change.
  • Communication: Effective communication helps keep the team working on the right projects with the right attitude. If you communicate efficiently about expectations, issues and advice, your staff will be more likely to react and meet your goals.
  • Flexibility: Not every problem requires the same solution. By being flexible to new ideas and open-minded enough to consider them, you increase the chances that you will find the best possible answer. You will set a good example for your team and reward good ideas.
  • Conviction: A strong vision and the willingness to see it through is one of the most important features of leadership. The leader who believes in the mission and works toward it will be an inspiration and a resource to their followers.

Leadership Styles

Different types of leadership styles exist in work environments. Advantages and disadvantages exist within each leadership style. The culture and goals of an organization determine which leadership style fits the firm best. Some companies offer several leadership styles within the organization, dependent upon the necessary tasks to complete and departmental needs.

Laissez-Faire – A laissez-faire leader lacks direct supervision of employees and fails to provide regular feedback to those under his supervision. Highly experienced and trained employees requiring little supervision fall under the laissez-faire leadership style. However, not all employees possess those characteristics. This leadership style hinders the production of employees needing supervision. The laissez-faire style produces no leadership or supervision efforts from managers, which can lead to poor production, lack of control and increasing costs.

Autocratic – The autocratic leadership style allows managers to make decisions alone without the input of others. Managers possess total authority and impose their will on employees. No one challenges the decisions of autocratic leaders. Countries such as Cuba and North Korea operate under the autocratic leadership style. This leadership style benefits employees who require close supervision. Creative employees who thrive in group functions detest this leadership style.

Participative – Often called the democratic leadership style, participative leadership values the input of team members and peers, but the responsibility of making the final decision rests with the participative leader. Participative leadership boosts employee morale because employees make contributions to the decision-making process. It causes them to feel as if their opinions matter. When a company needs to make changes within the organization, the participative leadership style helps employees accept changes easily because they play a role in the process. This style meets challenges when companies need to make a decision in a short period.

Transactional – Managers using the transactional leadership style receive certain tasks to perform and provide rewards or punishments to team members based on performance results. Managers and team members set predetermined goals together, and employees agree to follow the direction and leadership of the manager to accomplish those goals. The manager possesses power to review results and train or correct employees when team members fail to meet goals. Employees receive rewards, such as bonuses, when they accomplish goals.

Transformational – The transformational leadership style depends on high levels of communication from management to meet goals. Leaders motivate employees and enhance productivity and efficiency through communication and high visibility. This style of leadership requires the involvement of management to meet goals. Leaders focus on the big picture within an organization and delegate smaller tasks to the team to accomplish goals.

Showing Leadership

Facility managers can and should go beyond the ‘manage’ label in their title and provide leadership within their organization. This means understanding the link between facility management and the organization’s corporate goals. And it means getting involved and advocating for new approaches to real estate and facilities. It may even mean encroaching on what is traditionally seen as someone else’s job.

Begin by building personal knowledge. Network with other facilities professionals, attend conferences and read FM magazines. Also track trends and upcoming issues in the organization’s industry. Building personal knowledge takes time, but it is necessary to provide leadership in facility management. Leadership in facility management should occur in all directions: downward to staff, sideways to colleagues and upward to senior management.

Develop the facility management department into the professional operation it should be. Train and re-train staff. Establish procedures and conduct quality assurance and performance management. Get the systems and resources needed to manage the organization’s assets and space efficiently. After all, other departments do these things, why doesn’t the facility management department? Then, with information gathered through the department’s professional operation — and with help from industry software — provide leadership sideways and upward.

Take the initiative to understand how the facility manager’s responsibilities impact on and interact with other departments, such as security and risk management. Then develop initiatives, hopefully in collaboration with those departments, that relate to facility management responsibilities but that also affect those areas.

For instance, instead of assuming that HR knows what is best for employees, take the leadership role and sell changes in the facility that improve employee satisfaction. Learn more about how space use affects worker productivity. Find out the latest space allocation and layout approaches used by leading companies. Research what facilities-related amenities leading organizations use to recruit and retain employees. Then share this information with the HR department. Perhaps HR hasn’t considered or has even resisted these types of changes.

Don’t wait to be asked by management to react to initiatives. Be aware of the organization’s issues and marketplace and make recommendations for improvement upward. Develop a business case with evidence and analysis that show how a proposal will benefit the company. Communicate with confidence and influence by fully understanding the issues and knowing the facts and figures.

Start with changes that are easy to carry out. Based on these small successes, facility managers will gain credibility. That way, when facility managers propose bolder changes, they are likelier to secure approval.

Facility managers need to demonstrate to their organizations that they are not just operating on a tactical level, they are providing leadership that positively impacts the organization’s two top assets: its people and its facilities.

Facility managers aren’t just managers; they need to be leaders as well. By being leaders, facility managers will not only drive improved results in their organizations, but they will contribute to the growth and development of the profession and improve their own careers.

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