Corinne Zudonyi Headshot

Try as we might, being a great manager is difficult. Whether we are overseeing one person or 200, there are a lot of responsibilities to juggle, a lot of personalities to deal with, and a lot of skills to master. Not to mention managers must navigate corporate politics, fluctuating budgets, and changing demands. Add it all up and it can all be, well, a lot.  

Good managers know that they can always improve. Honing your managerial skills should be an ongoing process. You can seek out help from countless self-help books, but I've found that talking with other managers is far more beneficial.  

I recently had the opportunity to jump on a Zoom call with about 20 cleaning managers from across the country. We planned to discuss best practices, but the conversation quickly changed to provide help to a struggling leader. As possibly the youngest exec on the call, he asked his more seasoned colleagues, "What makes up a good cleaning manager?" The responses were interesting because many of the initial comments were less about the manager as a person, and more about management in general and the team.  

For example, they agreed that being a quality leader means creating a strong, competent, and hardworking team that can thrive on its own. They also commented that a successful manager will staff a department that includes people who are smarter than they are and who aren't afraid to speak up. 

Of course, there were also personal characteristics these seasoned managers noted in strong leaders. One was to be an influencer. Successful managers should be a strong example, establish trust, and always advocate for the team. In other words, be someone the team can look up to. 

Another recommendation was to encourage innovation. The old way isn't always the only way. Leaders who foster experimentation and embrace potential mistakes open the door to creativity, improved processes, and more inspired teams. 

Finally, the managerial attributes most stressed were integrity and accountability. Be the type of manager that will advocate for the team, treat them fairly, and do what's right for them and the department.  

Becoming a strong leader doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and experimentation, but the effort will pay off when you become the leader your team and your organization needs. 

Corinne Zudonyi is the Editor-in-Chief of Facility Cleaning Decisions and has been in the cleaning industry for 18 years. She also oversees, Contracting Profits magazine and Sanitary Maintenance magazine.