Expert tips on moving into management


February 18, 2019

The professionals who contribute to Pest Management Professional drew on their management experience when we asked them: What advice do you have for a technician who wants to get into management?

Frank Meek: Make sure it is for the right reason. Too many times, technicians want to be the manager because they think they know they can do better than their current manager. If it is for the right reason — self-improvement — then make sure you understand exactly what is involved in being a manager. Talk it out with your current supervisor. A good manager is always looking to promote and improve his or her people.

Kurt Scherzinger: Watch leadership videos online — there are plenty of free resources out there. Look for good books that speak about the transition. After doing this, go to your employer to show the work you accomplished, and it will be well-received.

Pete Schopen: Get licensed. Also, learn the different aspects of a business. During the slow months, ask your company’s schedulers to let you watch what they do, or ask the manager to let you sit in on some of his/her phone calls.

Dr. Stephen Vantassel: Be sure you know how to handle people, and you enjoy it.

Michael Broder: Make sure you are ready for the emotional challenges. It can be very difficult to go from being a friend and colleague to supervising your colleagues and becoming their boss.

Judy Black: Make sure your manager knows about your interest. Actively seek out opportunities to stretch yourself. For example, offer to take the lead on large group initial services, offer to mentor new technicians, and ask to have your company’s profit-and-loss statement reviewed with you monthly so you can begin to understand how actions in the field can affect revenue and profit.

Dr. Faith Oi: Use your time as a technician to understand the pest control business from the ground up. Be a life-long learner. Mentor others. Help them understand that pest control is a profession with numerous advancement opportunities.

Stuart Aust: First and foremost, a service technician who is looking to get into management should excel as a technician. You can take leadership courses and read management books. Also, you should let it be known that you want to grow with your pest control company, and ask what you need to do to accomplish your goal.

Ryan Bradbury: Most technicians probably don’t realize the “management bench” is pretty thin in most pest organizations. The opportunity to grow within a pest control organization is very doable. My advice is to speak up on what you’d like to accomplish, find a mentor who will help you develop, and volunteer for projects. Be patient because you can get there in relatively short order.

Doug Foster: Work hard on cultivating your soft skills of communication, positive attitude, self-confidence and time management. The key to good management is not doing the work, but teaching, and getting great work done through others.

Mary Vongas: Be curious. Ask a lot of questions. Be open-minded and consider different solutions. Be comfortable making the tough, unpopular decisions for the health and wellness of the entire organization. And if you think you’re getting away from dealing with documentation, you are dead wrong.

Paul Hardy: Establish achievable objectives for all employees regarding training, registration, certification, and supervision. Management classes may lead to promotions of in-field personnel. Each level should come with an increase in earnings; including a commission for sales managers. The result will be many great management candidates.

Joe Sheffield: A technician’s focus is on the present (today’s tasks) and performing the hands-on work of the business. A manager has a different mindset, and the focus is both strategic and tactical. A manager also is focused on the present (today’s tasks) and achieves results through other people (such as technicians and sales representatives). To be a manager, you have to shift your mental focus from hands-on work to strategic and tactical work. A technician who does not make this mental shift will have a difficult time in the role of manager.


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