How to be a Good Fleet Manager
People aren’t born great fleet managers. It takes years of skill and talent development to gain the knowledge needed to become a true leader. Across all areas of fleet operations, managers are needed to increase fleet efficiency, improve driver safety, improve fuel efficiency, and optimize overall fleet performance.
Whether you are currently a fleet manager and want to level up your leadership or if you have career aspirations to become a fleet manager, read on to learn some of our top tips to become a better leader:
Being able to embrace change is a top quality of an effective leader in any industry. Now more than ever before, the fleet industry is experiencing major change. With sustainability goals pushing electrification to the forefront of fleet strategy and rapidly advancing technology creating more data than ever before, today’s fleet managers are leading the way towards a new future of fleet.
Embracing change means more than setting a strategy. Effective leaders must be able to rally their teams, support change management processes, accept criticism, and adjust priorities as needed. Being a good fleet manager isn’t just about change—it’s about leading your team through change towards a brighter future.
Share your vision for the fleet
Members of a fleet department will not blindly follow the fleet manager. Each employee needs to understand the direction and vision of the department in order to see how they impact overall operations. A good fleet manager will share their vision with their teams often and work to maintain visibility into the decisions that impact the fleet in both the short- and long-term.
Hire and retain top talent
A good fleet manager is only as strong as their team. Each technician, data analyst, driver, and specialist is vital to the fleet, so it is vital for fleet managers to provide them with the tools, education, and confidence to shine in their unique roles.
Providing relevant educational experiences for employees, including certifications and leadership programs, will also help increase the longevity of your teams. Investing in employees’ career growth is also an investment in the future of the fleet department.
Current shortages in fleet technicians and drivers present a challenge for fleet managers. To recruit young talent in these roles, fleet managers should think outside of the box through apprenticeship programs, partnerships with technical colleges, and promoting the benefits of working in fleet on social media platforms.
Learn from mistakes and missteps
How a fleet manager handles failure directly impacts fleet performance. No leader will make the right calls 100% of the time, but it is when the leader handles mistakes or strategic missteps with humility and accountability that positive changes can be made. When faced with challenges, good fleet managers should take responsibility for the part they played, identify what should have been done differently, and make a plan to move forward. Be sure to communicate openly and honestly with the teams involved.
Continue your education
While working in an industry as ever-changing as the fleet industry, fleet managers should work to constantly build upon their knowledge and skillset through certifications and programs. These educational opportunities allow fleet managers to confidently lead their teams to meet and exceed industry standards.
There are many opportunities to expand upon fleet knowledge, including NAFA’s:
- Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM) program- A self-study program open to any individual with at least one year of experience in any fleet-related position. This program is geared to those who need exposure to all aspects of fleet management as well as those looking to advance in their current position.
- Certified Automotive Fleet Specialist (CAFS) program- Offers certification opportunity for those professionals striving to develop their career path in fleet management and/or who want to learn the operational side of fleet.
- Sustainable Fleet Management certificate- Created to teach fleet professionals what it takes to guide your company on the road to becoming an accredited Sustainable Fleet.
- Fleet Discipline Certificate program– Developed for professionals who only work in one or two specific areas of fleet or want to sample a module before committing to a larger certification program.
Listen to your team and community
A good fleet manager values input from the entire fleet team, no matter how big or small a role appears. By listening to their thoughts, opinions, and complaints, fleet managers demonstrate that they value their teams—even if they don’t agree with them 100% of the time.
For public fleets, engaging with the community is also vital. Fleets perform essential functions for communities across the world. It is important for fleet leaders to listen to feedback from the community. What do citizens think about the fleet? What would you like to share with them?
In any industry, burnout is a real challenge. When leaders experience burnout, or career-related fatigue, it can be helpful to go back to basics. Why do you do the work that you do? Fleet organizations are vital to communities. They keep vehicles and the people inside them safe. They keep our supply chain moving. They protect and serve their communities. If you begin to feel fatigue in your role as a fleet manager, take a few moments to consider why your work matters.
At AssetWorks, we build software and hardware solutions. But why? If we stop to ask ourselves why we do the work that we do, our ultimate goals are easy to identify. Our ‘why’: we build software and hardware solutions that keep our customers and the people they serve safe, happy, and on-the-move.
To all the current and future fleet managers looking to become the best leaders they can be—thank you!