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How to Effectively Manage Your Team – Tips from our Leader of the Year Zane Smith

Zane started working for us in the beginning of 2017 and has grown tremendously in his professional career since his infancy at Trident Transport. In 11 months, he went from being an entry-level Account Manager to a National Account Manager where he started managing his first employee. 10 months later, he added more to his team and was promoted to a National Sales Manager. Now, managing 17 people, Zane leads the biggest team at the company as our Director of Sales. This past December, he was awarded Leader of the Year at our company Christmas party.

Through all his success, we wanted to pick his brain to find out how he effectively manages his team and to leave you with some parting tips that you can take back to yours.

Zane describes his management style with a lot of energy and positivity. “I try to create a team atmosphere, so that people feel comfortable asking questions and pooling resources which in turn gives the team more confidence. I enjoy meeting one-on-one with my team regularly to talk about big wins, struggles, and ways to improve for the both of us.”

His two biggest tools he uses when effectively managing his team are positive reinforcement and turning bad situations into learning experiences. Zane says a high-five or a “great job” goes a long way when a team member accomplishes something. “I want my team to feel as though I not only care about their success, but that I know what is going on with them on a day to day basis. I like to be heavily involved, so that I am able to help and teach as much as needed to help all members of my team reach their potential.”

Having not been in management prior to his time at Trident Transport, Zane says it’s been a learning experience for him. He had to learn how to manage different personalities and had to find the most effective ways to get the most production out of employees that respond to different types of management techniques. Luckily, he says, he’s had some of the best and most supportive managers helping and teaching him along the way.

Zane never misses an opportunity to let someone on his team know they are killing it. As far as motivation goes, he says having daily and weekly goals are very important. “Giving my team members something to strive for helps them prioritize and gives them a sense of accomplishment when that goal is met. That is a great way to build confidence and momentum.”

If he could leave you with any parting advice on how to effectively manage your team, it would be to listen. He says if your employees feel like they can approach you when they have a question or issue, it keeps the line of communication open. If you do not listen to your team and understand what their needs and strengths are, you cannot expect them to be successful, which in turn make you as a manager unsuccessful. Zane continues to lead his team with big goals for himself, his team, and Trident Transport. “We simply want to be the benchmark for success for what a complete and hard-working team looks like within Trident Transport. I am looking to help facilitate this at all levels by becoming a better manager and leading by example in all facets of the job.”