Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Do you have the right stuff?

September 19, 2010
No matter what job, position, or title you hold, you need to display admirable character and a professional image if you want to achieve success.

Needless to say, you must always choose your words carefully, and equally important, you must strive to project the “right stuff.”

This is especially true in the professional cleaning and maintenance industry where in-house facility managers and directors and building service contractors (BSCs) have to direct and motivate staff while, at the same time, also keep building occupants, customers or the administrators of a facility happy and content.

What makes up the right stuff?

Here are 13 traits to consider. How do you rate in the following areas?

1) Trust
The most important ingredient of any relationship — whether it is business or personal — is a shared sense of trust. You will never be able to develop any relationship with your staff or administrators without it, for trust is the foundation for reliability, dependability and good faith.
But remember, you don’t automatically gain the trust of your staff or of your customers. You need to earn it. You earn it by doing what you say you are going to do and being reliable.

2) Honesty
Being upfront and honest from day one is critical to developing a relationship with your workers or building occupants.
When things go wrong or a problem occurs, the old adage “honesty is the best policy” holds true.
In fact, if a problem occurs and you solve it the right way, it can make the relationship stronger.
If you make a mistake, own up to it, or you’ll lose face. Apologize sincerely and, hopefully, the person will be understanding and accepting.

3) Self-assurance
If you want to gain support, win new accounts, or influence your team, you need to be confident.
Getting others to believe in you as a boss begins with believing in yourself.
Be sure your self-assurance never comes across as arrogance, but does come across as confidence.

4) Humility
This is a good companion to self-assurance and an admirable trait.
While you want to project a feeling of confidence as the one in charge, you also need to project humility and honesty. When you do, you will project that you do not see yourself as being superior to others.

5) Certainty
When communicating, you must demonstrate belief in your ideas, facts, and communication.
Being steadfast builds acceptance, but of course, never talk about things you know nothing about. Listen, instead, and you will learn more.
As the person in charge, be sure to refrain from dodging tough questions or responding evasively when customers or employees ask questions regarding important matters.
If you are uncertain about something, state that you will find out the facts and get back to them.
If there is a decision that must be made, and you need to think about it, state that you’ll give it some thought and get back to them.
Then, when you communicate your decision, project the self-assurance others need to hear from you.

6) Consideration
Demonstrate consideration for others. (How would this person/people feel if I say/do this?)
Projecting consideration will draw people closer to you and help gain their respect.
Whenever possible, involve others in your decisions to demonstrate your respect and consideration for their ideas.
This is vital to building strong relationships.

7) Integrity
Without integrity, you will never convince anyone that you are going to do what you say you are going to do as a boss.
The old adages, “walking your talk,” “practicing what you preach” “doing unto others,” all play a strong part in projecting integrity.
Be sure to resist any temptation to “stretch the truth,” “tell a little white lie,” or omit facts that may be inconvenient to mention just to win people over.
Also, refrain from badmouthing anyone or you may come across as unprofessional.

8) Inspiration
If you have the ability to inspire people and give them a mental boost, they will enjoy interacting with you.
You don’t need to deliver rousing speeches, or become a motivational speaker, you simply need to display a positive attitude, be optimistic, and reinforce people to bring out the best in them.
Ultimately, you’ll see that you can win them over.

9) Professionalism
Whether at the office, an after-hours social function, or on a business trip, behaving in a professional manner is critical to success.
That doesn’t mean you can’t laugh and have fun when appropriate, but you must remember that in business, people are watching your behavior constantly.
Don’t let down your guard in the professionalism department or you might be shooting yourself in the foot when you don’t realize you’re doing it.
Keep in mind, professionalism also means being punctual, following up, respecting your employer and company property, and delivering your best performance every day.

10) Empathy
Empathy goes beyond compassion. Here’s the difference: Compassion is the ability to feel the way others feel; empathy is having the ability to put yourself in another person’s situation, experience his feelings and emotions, and project this to him.
This is especially important when serving customers and a problem occurs.

11) Respect
Demonstrate respect for others, their feelings, their work, and their beliefs.
This is especially important when dealing with international customers and multi-ethnic groups that you may be working with or servicing.
Throughout the world, people are different. Respect them, be patient with them, and learn how to interact with them appropriately.

12) Credibility
Use language that projects your credibility. For example, state why you are an expert on a topic, what experience you bring to the table, or what you have found in your research.
If you do not, people will doubt you and not think of you as the one truly in charge.
Keep this in mind too: A title does not necessarily provide you with credibility in the eyes of others. It must be earned by your level of performance, and what you present to others.

13) Vigor
If you project vigor you will be able to release your energy to others, fuel action and endeavor, and produce positive reactions from people.
Being in the same room with you should provide positive energy for others.
You don’t have to change your personality to do this. If your nature is “laid-back,” simply reinforce, appreciate and applaud the thoughts and ideas of others.

Look at yourself in the mirror
Remember, you can gain respect, influence others to follow your lead, and build better relationships if you have a constant awareness that every day, in every way, you are projecting the “right stuff.”
For now, ask yourself the following question: Would you work for you?

Christine Corelli is a professional business motivational speaker, sales trainer and facilitator for companies and associations. She is a frequent speaker to cleaning and maintenance industry manufacturers, distributors and major associations at national conferences and regional seminars. Corelli is the author of four books including “Wake Up and Smell the Competition,” and “The ART of Influencing Customers to BUY from YOU.” She can be reached at