“Treat people the way you’d like to be treated.” “Lead by example.” “Don’t ask people to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.”

Being a strong manager that the staff respects begins with a pretty simple framework — these three management philosophies are life lessons taught in kindergarten. But, as most Facility Cleaning Decisions readers can attest, being a manager isn’t always this cut and dry. It comes with a long list of challenges.

It is important to make sure facility cleaning managers stay on top of their game. To do so, the best managers will continue to hone their skills, sharpen their instincts and polish their interpersonal prowess.

To help, we tapped into our advisory board for suggestions to both seasoned and new managers facing the onslaught of challenges in cleaning departments today. With a combined 165 years of industry service, 102 of which have been spent in management, these industry veterans share tips and advice for managerial success.

What management philosophy have you found to be successful?

Ada BaldwinAda Baldwin, MA, M.R.E.S.E.
Director for University Housekeeping
North Carolina State University
I firmly believe in Servant Leadership, which shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

Babette BeeneBabette Beene
Environmental Services Manager
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
I strive to always treat people the way I want to be treated.

Doreen BassertDoreen Bessert, C.E.S.E.
Worksite Placement Coordinator, Custodial Supervisor & Central Purchasing Agent
Manitowoc County DPW
My philosophy for managing is to empower my staff. I allow them to have a say in major purchases, since they will be the folks using the products/equipment. I also work alongside my staff, letting them know that I will do anything that I ask them to do.

Michael JonesMichael Jones
Director of Custodial Services
Columbia Public Schools
I have always been a manager that leads by example. It is important to be firm, but fair, and demonstrate empathy.

Gene WoodardGene Woodard, R.E.S.E.
Director of Building Services
University of Washington
I have three leadership principles that guide me and the other leaders within my department. The first is lead with humility. This means that I am fully aware that I can learn from anyone at any time. I attempt to actively seek input and listen so as to understand fully before judging. As a leader I also work to ensure that people have everything they need to be successful.
The second principle is to respect every individual and the organization as a whole. Every interaction is an opportunity to engage with authentic consideration for the safety and well-being of others. The leaders are looked at to determine the workplace culture.
The third principle is constancy of purpose. I develop management processes, work practices and behaviors, which are aligned with our mission, vision and strategic objectives. Some examples are emphasizing exceptional customer service, working as a team, being accountable and focusing on what is important.

Which management resources would you recommend to others in the industry?

Baldwin — The Art of Leadership, by George Manning and Kent Curtis, is a great resource for all levels of leadership. It does a nice job of combining behavior with business practices to provide tools for leadership development.

Beene — Housekeeping Management, by Matt Casado, highlights three things: management of resources, administration of assets and knowledge of technical operations. But overall, it promotes that open communication will benefit everyone.

Bessert — I enjoyed Ralph Peterson’s Managing When No One Wants To Work: Lessons Of Leadership From An Executive Housekeeper. The book covers how to manage attitude, turnover, motivation, conflict and breaking down old ways of thinking. Specifically, I enjoyed his hands-on experience and the examples he gives. He walks through the same struggles we all experience.

Jones — I have found great value to reading articles in business journals and trade magazines. I look for articles about business, inspiration and employee motivation successes.

Woodard — I would recommend any books written by either John Maxwell or Simon Sinek. Maxwell has written many books focusing on leadership principles. Sinek wrote Start With Why, which offers advice on inspirational leadership and decision-making.

What resources have you used for managerial advice?

Bessert — There are many books that address different management styles. These are helpful, especially if I’m having an issue with staff. Whether it’s personality cases, performance of their job, or disrespect to management or their co-workers — I look for various ways to address these issues that I might not have attempted.
There are times when you need to ask others who may have gone through the same/similar situation for their advice, and that’s where a peer group helps out. It could be a Q&A session through an association website, or just an email group from my address book.
Never assume just because we are managers that we have all the answers — we all need a little help sometimes.

Sandra HarshmanSandra Harshman
Custodial Superintendent
Clark County Department of Aviation
McCarran International Airport
Managers should remain open to advice from any number of resources. I reference leadership books, my peer group, my director and our human resource department.

Jones — Networking for advice is the quickest and best approach. Trade magazines also have great articles with industry leaders discussing important topics like employee turnover, teamwork, motivating staff and more.

next page of this article:
Management Advice For New And Veteran Cleaning Executives