During my “hotel painter” career, I’ve had the good fortune to work under two very knowledgeable, highly-skilled directors of engineering. Men who thought clearly, problem-solved promptly and effectively, and managed their teams professionally.
“T” leaned toward the corporate-delegative management style. “B” represented the hands-on, we-can-do-it-ourselves management style.
Here’s my capsule view of what made each man the right person for the job. . .
“T” took a pro-active, organized approach. He managed the engineering department, and met the engineering operations and maintenance needs of every system and department, based on a well-conceived plan. Aimed at maximizing positive results.
He anticipated, then addressed predictive, preventive and emergency situations and problems. He assessed, planned, scheduled, and executed every project according to strict time, budget and manpower parameters. And, he applied a projectile for minimizing the potential for avoidable, repeat shut-downs and break-downs of facilities, systems, equipment, machinery, etc.
Strategically, he delegated responsibility for completion of any given project to whichever group – internal or external – that could provide the best, most cost-containing results.
Actively, he maintained a huge network, across trade and industry lines. One that enabled him to access whatever resources he and his department needed to handle any challenge.
He ran a tight ship. He expected close adherence to company policies, departmental procedures, time and budget limits, and job requirements.
From each person on the team, “T” expected loyalty, courtesy, honesty, and accountability. And, he returned the same in kind. He kept everyone in the loop. Also, he kept his team members informed of managerial and company changes, decisions and activities. Especially, those that affected them, and their – our – engineering department.
He promoted teamwork, and maximized the chance for individual and team success. He invited suggestions and input. He encouraged open dialogue. And, in all areas, he stressed manpower, resource, environmental, and cost conservation.
“B” took a more basic approach, which allowed ample room for flexibility, thinking-on-his-feet, and a very quick response. He was a master at troubleshooting and problem-solving.
He knew, instinctively, how to operate the hotel’s engineering department, and every engineering operating and maintenance system on the property, on a bone-dry budget. With “0” time allotment. He was a master at recycling: parts, supplies, and equipment. He was a master at “making due” with what he had.
He knew what management expected, and with what they’d be satisfied. He knew what guests wanted and needed, and what they would not accept.
He knew what every man under him was capable of doing. He pushed each one to his limit: physically, intellectually, creatively, etc. He let each man do his job. He knew what each needed to do it. And, he tried to see that those needs were supplied.
He required high energy, immense flexibility, loyalty, a common sense approach, and a total commitment. He expected, and got, total teamwork and complete cooperation from every man.That included assisting him, sometimes on very short notice, to handle whatever emergency situation arose. That included switching tasks or projects without notice.
One thing, in particular, won “B” high marks from his men. He led by example, never asking any worker to do what he was not willing to do himself. Dig a WI-FI trench; work five hours on a 100 plus degree, sun-exposed rooftop to replace a kitchen fan system; spray toxic bed bug chemical treatments. He was totally unafraid to get in the trenches with his men. Literally!
Recently, a relative asked if I’d work again under either man when given the chance. “Yes,” I answered. Good bosses deserve that kind of a following. And, good employees deserve those kinds of good bosses, too.
Clearly, both “T” and “B” earned my utmost respect, loyalty and cooperation. Each man stretched my skills and abilities. Each challenged my stamina and endurance. Each supported my strong work ethic; high production-and-detail-oriented style; project scheduling and prioritizing system; and, need for new opportunities, new ways to serve. And, each defended my value to the department.
Both treated me as a craftsman, and an important contributor to the organization. Both taught me about running an engineering department under very tight budget, time, inventory, and manpower constraints. Both taught me how to help keep a hotel’s engineering operations and maintenance systems running, moving, humming, clicking, and breathing as efficiently and effectively as possible.
And, both showed me, by example, how to still walk out smiling, at the end of the day!
Thanks for visiting. Enjoy your day, and everyone with whom you come in contact.