A complaint of lead carpenters everywhere is that they can't find hard-working employees. In reality, it's our management style that determines the efforts of our workers. Here are a few tips that work to motivate the crew.

Photo: Charles Steck

Have the right attitude. If you display a negative or casual attitude toward your work, so will the people who work for you. Even though you may still work hard, others will slack because of it.

Delegate tasks that challenge the skills of others. If you were a helper and you spent every day digging footers, carrying lumber, and sweeping floors, would you be motivated? Probably not.

Set goals for everyone. Keep the people who work for you aware of your goals for the day and the week. If possible, set up rewards to motivate reaching these goals.

Use positive rather than negative motivators. Say thank you, praise good work, calmly correct mistakes, and share bonuses. You can also offer a free lunch, a letter of recommendation to the boss, or perhaps a new tool.

Recognize that some people are simply not motivated to do this work. If this is the case, discuss with your boss and terminate that individual as soon as possible. As the saying goes, one bad apple can spoil the barrel.

--Tim Faller, Field Training Services, www.leadcarpenter.com.