Moving from Technician to Management

What you should be doing to get your bosses attention

For the technician who wants to move into management, the process is simpler than you might expect. To move up, you, your work ethic and your attitude all need to catch the attention of the company owner and/or your manager. Did you notice “skills to do the job” were not on the list? It’s kind of like being a college graduate. That piece of paper you earned will get you through the door. However, once you are in the door, in most cases, someone within the company will teach you the specifics of the job. It’s the same for a technician who wants to advance. You have to get in the door.

We have all been to fast-food restaurants. Every once in awhile, an employee behind the counter catches my attention. It might be their smile, positive attitude and/or the way they made the extra effort to please you. You instantly noticed they were different. If my wife is with me and we notice someone like that, we usually have this conversation at our table: “That person who just waited on us will not be here long. With that kind of an attitude, sooner or later a customer, like us, will contact them about working for their company.”

They didn’t have a sign stuck on their forehead that said, “I am different.” No one at the door said, “Notice John or Suzie behind the counter; he or she does an exceptional job.” You just knew they were different.

That is the beginning for technicians who wish to move up in the company. The owner and/or manager needs to notice, without anyone saying anything, that you are different. Let’s look at a few practical ways you can stand out from the crowd, and be noticed.

Show up on time, every day
This might sound trite, but owners and managers notice when employees show up on time every single day. Showing up a bit early, so you are ready to start work when the clock hits 7:30 a.m., is icing on the cake. Look around at your fellow techs. How many of them show up on time, every day? Those who do stand out.

Remember the person behind the counter at the fast-food restaurant? Their attitude instantly showed they were different. Individuals with consistently positive attitudes are rare, and everyone wants a person like that on their team.

If you are a technician, the first impression a customer has about you (which transfers to the customer’s perception of your abilities and the quality of work the company offers) is based on appearance. Is that fair? No. Is it real? Yes. Practice being a manager by dressing like one. Clean uniforms, combed hair and no visible body art all make a good impression. Your current look may be OK if you are a tech in the field. However, we are trying to catch management’s eye, so start by being clean and neat in your general appearance. Believe me, management will notice.

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Team player
Being a team player means putting other people’s interests, and the company’s, above your own. As a tech, help the other techs when you see a need. Return tools and/or unused parts to their proper shelf. If John needs help loading a truck but you want to get on to your job, well, that’s what being a team player is all about.

It is highly unlikely you will instantly do an outstanding job on paperwork if you are promoted. Show management you can handle that portion of the job in your current position. Practice makes perfect, and it also forms a habit. Few techs do a good job with paperwork. If you do a great job, people notice.

Suggest ways to improve
Owners and managers want things to run smoothly and are open to new ideas. As a technician, you see how inventory is set up in the truck and probably have suggestions for improvement. Perhaps paperwork that could be redesigned to be more efficient. If you are assigned a specific truck, take ownership of it. Keep it washed, be sure regular maintenance is performed, drive it as if it were your personal vehicle and be sure it is properly inventoried so you can be as efficient as possible on the job. If repairs are needed, tell management. Share your thoughts and ideas with your supervisor. It will make you stand out.

Take classes
Any owner and/or manager worth their salt will notice when you take steps to improve your education and skill level and, therefore, your value to the company. If you are making the effort to improve your skill set, that will impress them.

If you want to move up within the company, become an outstanding performer within your current position, and take the initiative to excel in the above areas. Management will take notice — and you will be seriously considered when an opening needs to be filled.

Tom Grandy

TOM GRANDY is the founder of Grandy & Associates. An industrial engineer by training, Grandy has worked as general manager of a service company and was previously the director of company development for Dial One franchise. Brandy founded Grandy & Associates in 1987 to teach contractors how to run profitable businesses. tomgrandy@grandyassociates.com, grandyassociates.com