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Promote for Success, Don't Ruin Your Best Technician

hiring service department Dec 01, 2020
Promote the best candidate for service manager

At some point in almost every service manager’s career, the need to promote someone to the position of service supervisor arises. By the time we need to promote someone, we are normally so busy that we don’t have much time to invest in the process.

What happens many times is we find our best technician, and we tell them that they are going to be the supervisor. We then wish them the best as we walk away. Too many times, that is where the process ends. This often results in an unqualified supervisor who has been set up to fail, and we may have ruined—or lost—our best technician.

There are a number of reasons this is not an optimal approach. First, just because someone is the best technician, it doesn’t mean he or she has the needed qualifications to succeed as a supervisor. The individual may not even desire to be a supervisor but may take the position expecting the training and support that will lead to success. Without that training, the tech is now in a position that they may not like and aren’t qualified to handle.

Making the Selection

Ideally, the process should start long before the need is critical. In working with the technicians, you should find out what their career goals are, and have developed a plan to help them achieve those goals. You should also investigate who the team looks at as a leader in non-technical areas. The best technician will usually be the one they look to for technical issues, but someone else may be their choice for non-technical ones.

After you’ve made an initial assessment of the candidate’s desire and how the team views the individuals under consideration, you could have a further discussion with your potential candidate or candidates and verify that they are interested. While letting them know that there is no immediate need for a supervisor, you could start grooming them for the future.

In addition to observing how well the candidates interact with their fellow technicians, you need to observe how well they deal with customers, especially when problems arise. Do they have the ability to react calmly when the customer is irate? Also, how efficient are they at managing their time, as that skill will become critical as a supervisor.

Starting the process early will let you see if your candidates show interest and if they start taking the initiative to improve their knowledge and skills. This will tell you a great deal about your choice.

If you didn’t get the process started before you have an immediate need, you should still make your selection on the factors outlined above. Doing so will improve the probability of the new supervisor succeeding.

Continue reading in the free Member's area or in ENX Magazine.

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