Before his time as a U.S. president, John F. Kennedy said to his commanding officer on the PT-109 during a rescue operation, “If the men are to do a good job for us, we must do a good job for them.” What he meant was that those leading the team of crewmates had to work well under pressure to expect the same from their crew.
This simple, yet important statement can be applied to many areas, including maintenance management. For a maintenance manager, this means that if he expects his team to perform well, he must meet them halfway and create an environment set up for success. In order to be a successful maintenance manager, he needs to ask the question: what makes a good maintenance manager?
Qualities of a Good Maintenance Manager
There are several qualities of a good maintenance manager that are important for his success. Qualities are characteristics an effective maintenance manager has developed over time. Some of these qualities include:
- Dignity and respect for his superiors, team, vendors, and guests
- Mentor to his team
- Attentive, supportive, and responsive to team needs
- Confident in his abilities
- Knowledgeable about assets, materials, and skills of his team
- Big picture thinker
- Neutrality during debates or conflicts
- Forward-thinking mentality
- Handles stress well
- Adaptable to ever-changing needs and circumstances
An effective maintenance manager needs to understand how every other department in the organization works, communicating with them as necessary on a daily basis. It’s important for a maintenance manager to maintain good relationships with colleagues, vendors, subordinates, and superiors. A good maintenance manager also ensures that every day, his team of maintenance technicians are assigned to the work that best fits their skills, keeping roadblocks to working efficiently out of the way.
A good maintenance manager also seeks to prevent problems. This can be difficult because there is rarely a direct reward for those who use foresight to keep a problem from occurring. However, it’s not always possible to prevent problems, which is why a good maintenance manager must also know how to effectively solve problems. In addition to guiding others in problem solving, he is willing to “get his hands dirty” when necessary, and do the type of good work he expects from his team. A successful maintenance manager knows he needs to leave his ego and desire to get ahead at home so he can think like a team player.
Top Skills of Good Maintenance Managers
In addition to the qualities of a good maintenance manager, he has several skills that make him successful. A skill is an ability to do something well, which can be learned and perfected over time. When these skills are mastered, it will cut down on stress.
A good maintenance manager has “hard skills”, which involve having specific technical knowledge. Examples of these hard skills include:
- Maintenance management expertise in the following areas:
- Knowledge of current OSHA guidelines and other safety regulations
- Industry-specific knowledge
- Working knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems
As a leader, an effective maintenance manager must possess soft skills to be successful. These skills can be taught in a classroom, however, they are best refined through on-the-job experience and the willingness of the maintenance manager to learn and continually improve. These skills include:
- Excellent organizational, time management, and communication skills
- Expertise in and ability to pick up on new technologies
- Ability to work within a tight budget
- Grace under pressure
- Ability to solve problems and identify misunderstandings
- Ability to develop staff by providing budding leaders with opportunities to train others
- Ability to set vision and strategy for the department
- Ability to create a transparent work environment
- Ability to recognize and appreciate other good problem solvers (engineers, planners, and inspectors)
Become an Effective Maintenance Manager
A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) can help a maintenance manager become more effective. CMMS software will allow him to make smarter maintenance management decisions, helping to reduce maintenance costs and control the budget, quickly analyze everyday maintenance problems, and assign the proper resources. The maintenance manager will also be able to automate some daily administrative tasks, allowing him to spend more time completing maintenance, analyzing data, and improving preventive maintenance plans.
CMMS software also allows a maintenance manager to increase his team’s productivity with an easy-to-use maintenance tracking platform. It will help to improve communications between maintenance and other departments via service requests, notifications, and sharing of the maintenance calendar. There will be less back and forth or “I don’t know” answers to questions.