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Trust Your Team

Originally published: 12.01.19 by Pete Grasso

Whenever I speak with contractors about the success of their businesses, the conversation invariably turns to a larger discussion on the team they’ve assembled. Whether it’s the way they recruit talent or the things they do to keep employees active, engaged and productive, so many successful contractors have nothing but praise for their team.

What impresses me most is the amount of trust these successful entrepreneurs have in the people around them. Many started as a one-man shop, doing everything themselves. As the business grew, so did the team of people around them.

Those who have been most successful are the ones who are willing to let go of the day-to-day tasks and focus on the big picture of running a profitable business. No longer are you out in the field servicing equipment. You have a team of technicians for that.

No longer are you handling phone calls from customers. You have CSRs for that. No longer are you handling the day-to-day recordkeeping. You have a bookkeeper for that.

And, as you grow larger and larger, you’re not responsible for the marketing, advertising, purchasing, human resources and training. No, you have a whole team of people who are tasked with those responsibilities.

What impresses me about the contractors I speak with is not that they’ve grown their business so much that they’re able to hire all these folks to do those jobs. No, what impresses me is that they’re able to get out of the way and trust everyone to do their jobs.

When you started something from scratch and nurtured it along the way, it can be difficult to let go. No one else is going to do something exactly the way you did it. But that doesn’t make it wrong, just different.

As I said, the successful contractors I interact with accept this. They know the only way they’re going to succeed is to put trust in their team.

Make no mistake, this shouldn’t be a blind trust by any means. As a leader, it’s important to know what’s going on in every aspect of your company.

Many leaders have difficulty learning to let go, and a lack of trust is often the root cause. Lack of trust has a tendency to ruin productivity and leads to micromanagement.

Some employees may need more guidance than others, but no one likes to be micromanaged. I read an article recently which clearly outlines how lack of trust kills productivity on In it, the author states:

Leaders who don’t trust their team will frequently monitor progress on tasks. This is normal, until it happens so often that team members start to notice.

Leaders will start to spend much of their time monitoring the work of their team. Instead of letting people get on with the work, they will ask more questions and interrupt the process.

They simply don’t believe that their team is capable and as a result, they will spend lots of time checking and rechecking.

All of these actions will make you a less effective leader. Until you learn to trust.

Brian Stack, president of Stack Heating & Cooling in Avon, Ohio, understands this. When I spoke with him earlier this year and asked about his management style, he had this to say:

“I do not micromanage. I try and talk with and help the managers out to manage their departments. Not necessarily tell them what to do but talk with them about the situations and what their options are and let them do their own thing.”

Stack isn’t alone. Michael Rosenberg, president of Rosenberg Indoor Comfort in San Antonio has a similar philosophy.

“I like to communicate with the individual and tell them, ‘This is what I expect, and this is what your goals are,’ and then I leave them alone and let them do what they need to do,” Rosenberg says. “I don’t micromanage.”

I hear similar management styles from many top contractors. The key is, you have to be able to trust that you made the right hire and allow your team to do their job, while you focus on building your business.

About Pete Grasso

Pete is the former editor of HVACR Business magazine. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!


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