“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
— John C. Maxwell, American author
Fleet managers have many daily tasks to complete, but one of their most important is leading their staff. If the manager can’t effectively organize the staff and prioritize work, then the fleet can’t run efficiently.
Leading people can be a challenge in any job, and it can be even more challenging in a fleet operation where staff skills are diverse and the tasks can range from maintenance services to IT updates.
Adapt to New Technology
When asked what it takes to be a good fleet leader, Amanda Wilson, the fleet manager at Fleet Services at Indiana University, prioritized one trait.
“Adaptability. There are so many things coming at you,” she said.
Wilson said it’s important for fleet leaders to be able to stay up-to-date on trends in the fleet industry and try to stay abreast of technology.
Staying current on trends and technology will help fleet managers find efficiencies for their operations. This will help eliminate more laborious methods. It also helps define long-term goals and strategies for the operation.
Analytics allow fleet leaders to know how their operation is performing at any given time. Using a fleet management system, fleet managers can track data through a dashboard to have information at their fingertips and in real-time on open work orders, labor hours, fuel usage and more.
Tracking this information helps fleet managers monitor how the fleet is performing against Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and how it is measuring against set goals and objectives.
Analytics also gives managers more insight into their staff’s productivity. Leaders can track time spent on tasks and can use GPS data to locate and monitor drivers.
Set Clear Expectations
Setting expectations with staff members and drivers can help fleet leaders be better managers. Telling their team exactly what is expected of them allows the manager to hold the staff to those expectations.
Leaders should also communicate all policies with team members. This helps ensure all staff are following the same guidelines. It also improves the safety for each team member as he or she is aware of the rules and precautions the organization has put into place.
Make Safety a Priority
Fleet leaders have a responsibility to prioritize safety in their operation. Managers should make sure all staff members are properly trained for the jobs they are performing. They should also make sure team members are aware of all safety procedures and guidelines.
For driver safety, leaders can monitor driver behavior through GPS tools to ensure drivers are driving safely and following the laws. GPS and telematics data can provide information on if a driver is driving distracted, speeding, or performing other negative behaviors. This gives managers areas to coach the driver through to improve his or her safety and performance.
Be Open to Suggestions
Being an effective leader requires listening to one’s staff and being open to feedback. While it’s up to a fleet manager to lead the operation, he or she also needs to be OK taking suggestions from his or her staff. A leader might have more insight into a long-term strategy or goal of the operation, but staff members are performing the day-to-day work and can provide insight in areas managers might have overlooked.
Fleet managers who are open to feedback and want to genuinely listen to his or her staff can earn the trust and buy-in of his or her staff faster. Having a team who is united and all working for the same goal will help increase the efficiency of the operation.
To see how fleet management software can provide the tools to help make you a better leader, contact us today to schedule a free demo.