Tag Archives: Brian Clegg

Leading Your Landscape Team: Being a positive mentor

By Brian Clegg

Landscape business owners and managers must teach all their employees what it takes to be a great landscaper. Once the basic training has been established, the lessons one learns on the job can help the next generation chart their own career paths—and help grow the companies they work for at the same time. In addition to conducting business with integrity and honesty (a must both professionally and personally), the following principles can help landscape professionals build and improve their teams while strengthening their overall business.

Stay motivated
Most managers have a certain motivational style. Some take a fear- or intimidation-based approach; however, screaming at employees to achieve production goals will surely backfire over time. Others choose short-term motivators, such as pay raises (above and beyond cost of living increases).

Stay organized
Some of the best people on a landscape crew are not the ones with the most technical skills; they are the ones who can best organize a job site and keep things running smoothly.

Stay professional
Proper and professional communication is the key to success with both staff and clients. Sometimes owners get too busy and forget to listen, but everyone needs to feel important (because they are).

Stay focused

Once a solid team is built, it is important to continue nurturing it. One of the primary ways this can be done is with ongoing training. Whether it is hands-on or classroom- or seminar-based, this must happen on a day-to-day basis if a company is to move forward. Every team member needs to be responsible for learning and applying new techniques. By making training a top priority, new skills can be developed by all—and new leaders can emerge.

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Leading Your Landscape Team: Are good people hard to find?

By Brian Clegg

Driving through communities across Canada, magnificent landscapes are not difficult to find. Mother Nature creates some of these impressive backdrops, but dedicated and creative landscapers create most of them.

When faced with evidence of skill and craftsmanship, it is clear the Canadian landscape industry is filled with good, hardworking, talented individuals. The questions then become how will the industry sustain and encourage the present generation of landscapers—and, just as importantly, how will it ensure new employees have the right skills to become the experts the industry will require going forward?

First and foremost, all employees of a landscape company must have at least basic training on the different elements of the business. There are obviously many great programs and courses available through Canadian colleges and provincial trade groups such as Landscape Ontario, which can teach the fundamentals of landscaping to young and old alike. However, education alone is not enough.

Mentorship and continuing education are the other side of this equation. When I was starting out in the business, I was very fortunate to have a mentor and phenomenal teacher to show me the ropes—Glen Curran of Curran’s Landscapes. While younger landscapers may not appreciate it at the time, passing along lessons learned can be the best possible gift for an employee. I often reflect on what Glen taught me; his training has definitely served me well throughout my career, both professionally and personally. Now, as experienced professionals, it is time for today’s landscapers to do the same for their teams.

Read the full article: Leading Your Landscape Team

Leading Your Landscape Team

By Brian Clegg

There are many challenges facing today’s landscape professionals, from keeping up with new design trends and technologies to the tried and true dilemmas of time management and weather-related issues. However, after more than 47 years in the landscape industry, the most common issue I hear about from landscape business owners is they can’t find good people to install their work.

Landscape shows abound with seminars on business-related topics, such as annual budgeting, estimating, computerizing and company profiling, to name just a few. These elements of the business are no doubt important and very necessary; in fact, one might consider them the ‘brains’ of the company, without which it could not function, let alone turn a profit. Just as important, however, is the ‘heart’ of the company—its employees, the people who turn the landscape design concept into reality and without whom work would never get done. Landscapers need to be as passionate about this element of their business as they are with the nuts and bolts or facts and figures.

Read the full article: Leading Your Landscape Team