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5 Ways to Build a Better Self-Storage Management Team

By Rick Beal Comments

When you think of a great team, what comes to mind? I imagine a college rowing crew at sunrise, gliding effortlessly across the smooth water with everyone in sync, pulling their oars toward a common goal. Unfortunately, in work life, the water is often shark-infested. Some people are pulling harder than others; some are outright coasting. And right above your head is a sign that reads, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

At times, it can difficult to build and lead a successful self-storage management team. It’s just as difficult to be part of one. However, with the following five key strategies, you can help your staff overcome the turmoil and glide smoothly toward success.

See Their True Colors

There are hundreds of personality tests available in the marketplace today. You’ve probably taken one at some point. Other than being flat-out fun, they provide insight to people’s characters. For the workplace, I recommend the Hartman Institute Color Code Personality Assessment. You can find it online and in the book, “The Color Code,” by Taylor Hartman.

What I like about this test is it breaks your personality traits into four colors. Each color defines a person’s strengths, weakness and work behavior. For example, I’m a red/yellow. That means I’m goal- and task-orientated, and I like to have fun. So, a good way to motivate me would be to help me find success in accomplishing my goals. This is true!

Not only does the color-code test provide insight to your personality, it helps you know how to work and communicate with people from other color categories. This information is extremely valuable and can be an entertaining, team-building exercise. Everyone gets a laugh and says, “Oh, that’s so you.” It’s a great chance to share a more vulnerable side of yourself. That’s OK because everyone else’s weaknesses are also being revealed.

Create Buy-In

Two years ago, I purchased a home. When I first looked at it, I loved it. Others saw it as a catastrophe. There were holes in the walls, doors were kicked in, it smelled like death and gym socks, and the former residents had used the living room to repair motorcycles. Everyone thought I was insane for wanting to buy it. My realtor said, “I’m glad you see the vision because I don’t.”

I had to work hard to get people to “buy into” my vision of the house. After a lot of blood, sweat, and swearing, I turned it around. Now that the project is finished, it’s easy to see the dream. Before the work was done, however, it was nearly impossible.

You need to get your team to buy into what you want to accomplish for the company. You don’t do this by showing them everything that needs to be done all at once. You break it up into “rooms,” and then into tasks. You begin by delegating. As your staff completes various tasks, they begin to have a sense of ownership in what they’ve accomplished.

As your team develops, give them more responsibility, and their buy-in will grow. As they become more committed, help sharpen their skills to become even more effective in what they do. Soon they’ll be the ones helping others buy into your vision because they’ll see what you see.

Keep It Clear

If your company’s organizational chart looks like the art my 3-year-old puts on the fridge, it’s time to have a talk. Clearly defined roles are essential to running a well-established team.

Nothing will bring staff down like not understanding the responsibilities of each team member. Not only will having clear roles help your team, it will help you hold them accountable. How can you hold employees answerable for certain tasks if they don’t have a standard against which to be held? A valuable exercise would be to ask employees how they see their responsibilities. Compare that information to your own summary. I imagine there will be some discrepancy, which means an opportunity for coaching and mentoring.

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