Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

How to Avoid 5 Job-Threatening Situations

There is no such thing as an indispensable employee; fleet managers are certainly no exception. Here are five ways fleet managers lose their jobs, and what can be done to avoid these situations.

May 2010, by Staff

It can be a fine line any employee walks; try to make yourself indispensible to the job, and you can effectively crush any hopes at advancement. Delegate, make yourself "available" for promotion, and you run the risk of making yourself available for termination, while watching the job being handed over to a less expensive subordinate.

Fleet managers can lose their jobs for any number of reasons, some preventable, some inevitable. Here are five situations that can threaten a fleet manager's job and what he or she can do to avoid them.

1. Incompetence

Doing a bad job or not doing the job at all is pretty much a one-way ticket to the unemployment line. In general, managers become managers if they exhibit the skills, temperament, and experience that signaled their leadership potential in the first place for the most part.

Sometimes, though, even managers who exhibit the management combination simply don't end up doing the job. They don't do well on follow-through, they miss the big picture, they become bogged down in detail and lose sight of the ultimate goal of cost control. The job can be intimidating at first, even overwhelming, and it's difficult to catch up once events have piled up in the inbox.

Since we'll assume the fleet manager isn't really incompetent, but simply allowed events to get out of control, there are, indeed, actions a fleet manager can take to maintain quality in job performance. Most of these measures can, and should, be a focus of the new fleet manager:

  • Write your own job description. One may already exist, but talk to staff (if you have any), your immediate supervisor, and other stakeholders to determine which tasks are important to perform, and which aren't.
  • Keep in mind fleet management begins and ends with policy. If one exists, learn it thoroughly, then find and correct any weaknesses. If no policy has been developed, immediately get started creating one.
  • Talk with and meet suppliers as soon as possible. They can be very helpful in learning how the fleet has been handled in the past, and what they suggest will help you get started.
  • If you're new to fleet, start your education immediately. If you're a veteran, make sure you're up-to-date in industry and management knowledge, and learn to apply it to the job.
  • Finally, talk with your supervisor. Understand the company's expectations of you, what goals you should set, and how they'll be measured.

2. Outsourcing

The single biggest fear of most fleet managers: the job will be outsourced to a fleet supplier. It's a practice discussed more than just about any other job-related issue, and one that seems to result in more fleet managers losing their jobs every year.

Most fleet managers know the drill: either a new management team takes over and looks to make changes or a supplier contacts senior management and makes the case. Either way, unless a fleet manager is prepared for an outsourcing proposal, it can result in an awkward meeting (or telephone call), and some depressing news.

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