What is a parking manager’s greatest resource? You guessed it: the workers. The trick for managers is molding frontline workers and office staff into a productive, well oiled, customer service machine. So how exactly is that done? Retaining good employees and weeding out bad seeds can be a never-ending task, but beyond that, how do you turn a staff into a team? I believe it takes a two pronged approach that I call “Whistles and Pom-poms.”

Now, don’t worry. I’m not suggesting that you turn your next staff meeting into some sort of pep rally. But I do believe managers should be able to assume the roles of both coach and cheerleader. The sports world recognizes that both roles are needed to build a good team and it’s time that we in management realize the same thing.

The role of a coach (the whistle) comes into play when we lay out the game plan. A good manager should make sure that team members are clear about what their responsibilities are and that they are trained and equipped to handle them. The coach also promotes accountability, getting team members back on track when they do not carry out their responsibilities.

The role of cheerleader (the pom-poms) has more to do with the morale and focus of the team, but is just as important as the role of coach. A cheerleader praises success and even anticipates it. A good cheerleader does not wait until the first touchdown is made to break out the pom-poms. A good cheerleader supports the team, the team’s goal and, most importantly, consistently verbalizes support.

Where do you stand as a manager? Are you more coach than cheerleader? Or have you mastered both roles equally? Let us know in the comments below. And when you grab your keys and coffee tomorrow morning and head off to work, don’t forget your whistle and pom-poms!