Core Values That Make A Good Manager

Jim SchultzGrowing up, my dad always told me that integrity is everything. Now that I’m 38 and general manager of Jackson Welding Supply Company (Rochester, NY), his words ring truer than ever. At Jackson, core values such as integrity, discipline, continuous improvement and respect are important parts of our day-to-day activities. I try to set a good example for my co-workers by demonstrating our values on a daily basis.

After graduating from St. John Fisher College with a B.S. in business management, I was hired here as a driver in 1995. I’ve worked my way up by learning as much as I could about the business in each position I’ve held, including counter sales, inside sales, customer service and operations manager. I love this business, and being involved in different aspects of it has kept me sharp.

All that knowledge has been helpful since I was promoted to general manager two years ago. I’m involved in almost every aspect of the business, whether it’s accounting, operations or developing the future. For example, we are trying to improve our wholesale gas business. We recently started microbulk nitrogen delivery, and I’m helping our director of sales build relationships to grow that portion of the business. Also, we just started a specialty gas lab where we pump our own gases. I’ve been contacting other distributors to tell them what we offer. Through that, I’ve developed friendships with other members, and their advice has proven very helpful.

An area I’m personally trying to improve is communication with employees so that everyone knows why decisions are made and how those decisions fit with the company’s goals. I’m trying to be a better listener. Our president, plant manager, service manager, director of sales and I consistently communicate; we meet each morning to discuss what’s on tap for that day and make sure we’re on the same page.

Four people report directly to me, and I am younger than all of them. Trying to gain their respect initially was a challenge, but I dealt with it by showing them I’m here to make everything work as best it can. I seek their advice to make good decisions—I don’t pretend to know everything.

If my co-workers learn one thing from me, I want them to see the big picture. Behaving according to our core values ultimately determines our customers’ willingness to do business with us. That’s the integrity my father was talking about.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Jim Schultz Meet the Author
Jim Schultz is general manager of Jackson Welding Supply Company, located in Rochester, NY. When he’s not at work, Schultz spends his time at home with his four children.