What Kind of Fleet Manager are You?
Originally published on June 11, 2020
Knowing what kind of fleet manager you are is instrumental in your own personal and professional development and ability to manage others well. Self-awareness is the first step to growth. In our Comprehensive Guide to Fleet Management, we cover three management styles. However, we recognise that management styles are nuanced. In this post, we’ll explore more than the basic three types of managers to help you on your journey to providing the best possible corporate fleet management.
A significant part of supporting your team is identifying your fleet and facility management style and learning how to lever it to help your fleet improve.
When ascertaining what kind of fleet manager you are from the archetypes below, it’s worth asking a trusted colleague for feedback to perceive a more accurate reading of your style. All too often, managers decide their style based on the kind of fleet manager they want to be, rather than the one they are. This is where the value of an external perspective comes in!
Let’s explore the seven fleet manager styles:
If you’re an autocratic fleet manager, you’re likely to make decisions that affect your fleet without asking them what they think. You might also be prone to checking up often on what your drivers are doing, and may have received feedback about micromanaging. Although being overly controlling isn’t conducive to relationally healthy work culture, as it prioritises control over innovation, there are benefits to this style when balanced out.
Laissez-faire fleet managers are happy to give their drivers autonomy and freedom to make their own decisions. This management style works well for independent employees who are trustworthy and reliable and fosters a culture that celebrates creativity. Although this style of fleet manager has high value for communicating trust, they also run the risk of mistakes being made.
A democratic fleet manager sits somewhere between an autocratic and laissez-faire manager. Democratic managers take the ideas and suggestions of their fleet drivers into consideration but are the ultimate decision-makers. The goal of the democratic fleet manager is to make decisions that benefit the whole fleet as much as possible but can run the risk of missing out on the creativity individuals could bring to the table.
A consultative fleet manager will ask their team members for their thoughts on a matter and adjust their own decision based on the contributions they think are worth considering.
Rather than gathering ideas from others, a persuasive fleet manager focuses their energy on persuading their fleet to buy into their own approach and be passionate about it.
This acronym stands for Management by Walking Around (MBWA). An MBWA fleet manager spends time with their fleet team members to get an accurate idea of the work they do and gather as many perspectives as possible to understand the general atmosphere of the fleet. This creates excellent relationships, but can come at the cost of time spent on other corporate fleet management tasks.
For chaotic fleet managers, the clue is in the name. This type of manager is clear about goals but leaves it up to each team member to reach targets. Although this style of management encourages creativity and personal responsibility, it can leave team members feeling unsupported.
The critical thing to remember is that while you may naturally gravitate towards one of these fleet manager styles, you may also display elements of others. This can be a positive thing as it shows flexibility and a balanced approach. But by identifying a style you trend towards, you can pinpoint areas for you to grow, For example.
If you are:
- An autocratic manager, what are some ways you can give your fleet more autonomy in decision-making?
- A laissez-faire manager, how can you encourage your fleet to continue making their own decisions by also running them by you to avoid mistakes?
- A democratic manager, are their ways you can give individuals opportunities to shine?
- A consultative manager, how can you make sure you don’t show favouritism by always accepting or overlooking ideas from the same people?
- A persuasive manager, are there ways you can become more open to other team members’ ideas?
- An MBWA manager, is it always practical to spend so much time in the field? If not, how can you ensure you are balancing your time well, so other duties aren’t neglected?
- A chaotic manager, what are some ways you can reassure and support team members who would benefit from more coordination?
There are always ways you can grow as a fleet manager and provide an even better work dynamic for your fleet. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to handle corporate fleet management effectively and learning your management style is the first step!
For more advice, check out the Comprehensive Guide to Fleet Management.