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Tips on Improving Your Supply Chain Leadership

If you plan to find a senior level position in the supply chain discipline any time soon, then one of the things that you’ll need to work on are your leadership skills. Leadership is a necessary skill in any senior level position, no matter what the discipline might be.

3 Skills That Will Impove Your Supply Chain Leadership Skills

  • Listen to the people you talk to – Listening is one of the most important aspects of leading. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know how to listen – they only know how to speak. In order to know how to lead your employees, you’ll need to be able to listen to any problems or concerns they might have. Begin listening carefully to the people in your life and you’ll notice a big improvement in how you communicate with them and how quickly they’ll begin respecting you more.
  • Take care of yourself – Eat properly, exercise and get plenty of rest. When you’re feeling good physically, you’ll feel better mentally. This will have a big impact on how you interact with people around you. You’ll be more willing to listen to other people’s problems and opinions in addition to being more willing and able to come up with solutions.
  • Be present – Showing up is half the battle, the other half is being there mentally. People can read whether you’re paying attention or not. This is part of what creates a person’s overall “presence.” It can be felt in a room. When you have presence, you’ll make an impact just by showing up. How can you improve something like this? Contribute to discussions and conversations in ways that are meaningful. This will build respect for you, even if its just from friends and family. This in turn helps build your confidence as well as your presence.

Avoid These Pitfalls to Build Stronger Supply Chain Leadership Skills

  • Overworking – With so many processes to oversee, costs to analyze and strategies to execute, it’s understandable that the pressure can escalate, and the stress of seeing success — combined with your impeccable work ethic and dedication — can sometimes translate to pushing your subordinates to contribute even more. Constructive encouragement is absolutely beneficial, and it’s okay to push your employees when you need to see results, especially since the stability and smooth operability of production and processes depend upon optimum performance and adherence to strategies. But overworking your staff can turn bad quickly. By making everything a priority, you’ll wear down employees. It results in the team becoming overworked and stressed out, which leads to an increase in mistakes. Overworked employees are also less willing to go the extra mile when you need them the most.
  • Demanding immediate results –When you’re implementing a new strategy for improving processes, productivity, materials or operations, you want to see the results in effect as soon as possible to gauge whether the new approaches are effective. But remember, some things take time. Being impatient can do a lot of damage. What ends up happening is that your team will waste more time fixing mistakes they made because they were rushing the job in order to get it done sooner, or they weren’t able to take enough time to adjust to new procedures.
  • Getting angry – People make mistakes. In the supply chain management discipline, mistakes can be costly and should be avoided or amended to prevent damage to materials or the overall process of productivity. But when they do occur, be sure to handle them competently and gracefully. Don’t yell or be overly aggressive every time a mistake is made. Yes, you should address the issue and the team member who has erred. But, if you’re overly hostile when they make a mistake, they are going to be afraid to speak to you about problems or new ideas, which could end up hurting you in the long run.
  • Becoming jealous – Team leaders sometimes become competitive when success is results-driven, but getting jealous of the success of other teams can create a turf war mentality and dirty politics, which ends up causing the workplace to become unproductive and miserable. A good leader focuses on making their team succeed, not on comparing their results with other departments. Remember, you’re all working toward the same goal: the success of your company!
  • Becoming lazy –Some leaders are all talk and no action. They believe team meetings where employees listen to them speak are productive even if they have no goal. Keep your meetings short and make agendas to ensure productivity. Remember to actively work toward new strategies and team goals to drive productivity, customer satisfaction and employee morale.
Don Jacobson
Don Jacobson
Don Jacobson was born and raised in New York City, and graduated with a B.A. degree in Management from the City University of New York. For 10 years, Don managed Operations and Supply Chain departments for consumer products companies. He then turned his attention to supply chain recruiting and for the past 27 years, has specialized in recruiting and placing supply chain executives throughout North America. Don is certified by the National Association of Personnel Consultants. He was a Partner at Hunt Ltd., and more recently was the Founder and Managing Partner of LogiPros LLC, a logistics recruiting firm. Don is a regular contributor of topical human resource articles for DC Velocity magazine, the CSCMP Supply Chain Comment, and The WERCSheet, published by the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC). He is Past President of the NY/NJ/CT chapter of WERC

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