The ideal Field Service Manager is someone with a strong technical background, who is happy to move into managing and to be primarily office based rather than out in the field.
A lot of Managers say that being office based after perhaps a whole working life spent in the field, is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes because of stage of life or family reasons, a role with less travel is attractive, but some engineers find office life like being in a cage.
Ideally, a Field Service Manager will arrive in the new role with some experience of training or team leading.
Finally, and perhaps key, is a desire to stay hands-on for at least some of the time.
What does a typical role involve?
It doesn’t matter the industry or the country, all Field Service Managers say that they have two competing parts of their role.
Firstly, there will be things which have to be done either daily or urgently:
• Dealing with paperwork (often a lot)
• Making and taking client calls
• Keeping a track of where people are each day
• Making sure team are properly briefed before they go out on a call or visit
• Being the person who solves everyone’s problems
Then there are the things which are key to building a strong and effective team:
• Getting involved with actual jobs and being hands-on
• Building a good relationship with each member of the team individually
• Supporting each engineer as they work even when they are at a distance and not easy to contact
• Staying ahead on dealing with queries and concerns – putting out fires before they are fires
• Appreciating and feeding back positives
How does a Field Service Manager do all this? The stars say that they keep these tips in mind:
• Deal calmly and patiently with the unexpected, even when multi-tasking
• Explain and be honest about delays and problems
• Treat your team as you would like to be treated – work for them
• Involve everyone in decision making and ideas, and always be fair
• Make sure you are always thinking about the best for the whole team not just one or two individuals
• Lead your team, don’t manage them; show trust by delegating
• Build and maintain a positive team environment even when members are not often in the same place
• Keep and show a positive attitude
• Balance serving both the customers and your own service engineers/other employees
• Be clear about what is non negotiable and what you can be flexible with when dealing with your team and with the customer
• Have vision and keep an eye on the big picture and keep the team moving forwards
I hope that whichever team you are part of is having a good week. What was the key quality of the best team leader you have ever worked with?