Leadership and teamwork go hand-in-hand. The best HVAC teams have dedicated members with great teamwork skills and are lead by clear and inspiring leadership. Whether you’re a technician, engineer, hvac installer, plumber electrician the principles of leadership and teamwork can help you develop your career and become more valuable. 

Let’s start by taking a look at leadership first.

Are you born a leader or can you become one?

Leadership is the confidence and ability to lead a team in order to conquer a specific goal. That, for example, could be leading a team in order to install a heat pump for a client.

A lot is said about the ability to lead and whether it is something we are born with, grow into, or learn.

In reality leadership requires a set of skills and abilities most of which are learned and some of which we acquired as we grew up.

A good leader is someone whom a team member is confident in following in order to achieve a specific task. So, leadership is about gaining a team’s trust and confidence (and keeping it) that you have the abilities, skills and confidence to achieve that goal with them.

To become a better leader you need to sharpen these skills and apply them to your job on a daily basis. As your experience in HVAC installations grows and your skills gain the trust and appreciation of your team you are more likely to evolve into a leading role.

Try to hone these skills before you get promoted to a position of leadership so that you will be ready and confident for the role.

What skills do I need to develop to become a better leader in HVAC?

A good leader should be able to:

Be accountable
Take initiative and responsibility. Strive for quality and focus on results. If you understand your accountability early on in a project you will put more effort towards managing it.

Allocate resources and roles, prioritize and project manage. Ensure you are up to date and that everyone has what they need to get the job done.

Respect team member talent and allocate work accordingly. Provide opportunities for team members to grow and help build their confidence. Be a captain!

Provide direction
At the core of leadership is the direction that you will provide to your team towards the goals that need to be achieved.

Make sure everyone understands everything they need to know such as their roles, timelines, objectives and processes. Don’t leave room for misunderstandings.

Inspire confidence & motivate
Drive results and strengthen team cohesion. Bring the best out of your team members. Reward good work publicly and correct poor behaviour privately. Be the leader that the team wants to have.

Make decisions
Think fast on your feet. This is why having experience is important to being a good leader. Your decisive action will inspire confidence In your team.

Support and guide
Impart your knowledge and share your experience. Be there and have your team’s back when they need you. You will grow as a leader as your team develops and learns. Be aware of the goings-on in your team.

Manage expectations
Understand and manage everyone’s expectations – clients, suppliers, technicians, design engineers, team members, management etc. Keep a level head and focus on executing the task at hand.

Lead by example and be fair
Leaders are meant to be people that others look up to. If a leader tells people to do one thing and he or she does another they will stir resentment and disloyalty. A good leader will keep himself or herself accountable to a higher standard than their team and will inspire the team in doing so.


How can HVAC professionals become better team players?

Great teamwork can be achieved if all team members try to be good team players. Being a good team player is a prerequisite for developing into a good leader in the future.

Share the team spirit
Consider the needs of the team and that in order to achieve the task at hand a team is more than the sum of it’s individuals. Have fun, celebrate successes, support colleagues when they need it and try to see the team as a family.

Know your role is in the team
Respecting colleagues roles is as important as knowing your own role and how your skills should fit in the team.

Own your mistakes
Shying away from responsibility, placing blame on others and not attributing credit fairly are some of the most common causes of friction. Always take responsibility for your errors, share credit fairly and take responsibility for your actions.

Acknowledge good work
Offer useful feedback instead of criticism and help motivate teammates by rewarding their good work with praise.

Communicate clearly
Miscommunications and misunderstandings are a common cause of problems in HVAC and other team oriented projects. Be sure teammates understand what you want to convey and get confirmation at every opportunity. If you aren’t sure about something always ask for clarification as soon as possible.

Clarify goals and tasks.
Be sure to know exactly what the objectives are before you get started and the parameters that will make the project a success. Is the HVAC installation’s goal about redundancy, efficiency, performance or a low budget? Who needs to do what and by when?

Share skills & take every opportunity to learn
A team is only as strong as it’s weakest member say some. It is perhaps a little exaggerated, but in great teams nobody leaves an opportunity to learn go to waste. As experience grows, so does performance. Leave no one behind and try to grow professionally as a team.

Resolve differences respectfully
Always be courteous, fair and just. Don’t let disagreements escalate and act as an intermediary to resolve disputes impartially. Showing teammates respect will go a long way in avoiding unnecessary conflict.

Listen what others say and encourage participation
Being part of a team means you have your say as does everyone else. Try to improve the cohesion of the team by encouraging everyone to participate.

Be dependable
Keeping your word and earning the trust of teammates is necessary to proving that you can be depended on. Take your reputation for dependability seriously and you will always have the respect of your colleagues.

Show trust
To gain trust you have to show trust. Give people the opportunities they need to prove themselves

Be motivated, committed and put in the effort
Putting in good work is important to maintaining the respect of your colleagues. A drop in commitment will quickly be picked up on so keep yourself motivated.

Always treat others the way you’d like others to treat you.
This should go without saying but it is too important not to mention.

Where can I find out more about these skills and how to sharpen them?
Leadership and teamwork are well researched topics and you can find great examples in courses, by observing people that you trust and follow, by widening and building your experience and by doing some reading into great leaders and self-improvement. There are many books covering the specific skills mentioned and you will find loads of articles online. The best way to sharpen these skills is to apply them daily and to use common sense thinking in order to improve on them. 

If you’re an HVAC professional you will probably want to download your free copy of the HVAC Pro’s Ultimate Toolkit for Professional Development.

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