Once stable supply chains have been disrupted, while some sectors of the economy have all but vanished seemingly overnight. In the manufacturing and supply chain sectors, unique leadership traits will be needed to survive and prosper in this reformed economy.
This trying environment offers the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the essential role of trustworthy leadership in helping companies, both large and small, navigate the obstacle-ridden course that is the modern supply chain.
Leaders in the manufacturing industry who exhibit the following traits are the ones who will be able to help their companies not just survive this crisis but also emerge poised for future growth.
When employees feel lost, disillusioned, and worried, they will look for reassurance. They will not be looking for uncertainty or empty promises.
They need the calm and steady bearing of leaders who’ve been seasoned by a range of experiences – those who understand their own capacities and strengths. Their inner strength will emerge with the confidence to bolster every staff member, from those in the office to those on the floor.
Confidence does not equal cockiness or bravado. Confidence is the result of a well-thought-out plan and the ability to implement said plan. They understand that plans will have disruptions, and there will still be a path forward. This is the quality that will push a team and company through tough times. It will inspire others in the organization to go beyond the call of duty to ensure the team succeeds.
Any experienced manufacturer will have the expertise to make a product efficiently and in high-quality. But what happens when that product is no longer needed?
A new product needs to be developed to meet the demand of the market. What if your company and your leaders are not ready to meet the shift in demand? Most likely, the lack of strategic planning and possible solutions, could render your company immobile in the evolving market.
If a leader has prepared their teams and processes to be agile to meet unexpected challenges, your company could survive and, hopefully, thrive.
Agility is an active, ever-growing mindset; it is a way of leadership that embraces change through constant learning, skills development, and cross-training.
Leaders in the manufacturing industry must be consistently reviewing current market conditions and predict future demand using trends and changes in the economy and technology. In times of positive growth, it’s time to determine whether capital expenditures are warranted for further company investment.
On the other hand, forecasting is even more important when anticipating times of contraction or recsession. Prepared business leaders will take proactive measures well in advance before they become emergencies. Actions include saving ahead to meet monetary shortfalls, implementing lean manufacturing, eliminating waste, and training the workforce agility.
Now, for our final leadership trait needed in the manufacturing sector…focus to reach achievable goals.
A lean manufacturer knows how to focus on its core competency and reduce or eliminate any activities that distract from it. Although the mission may change depending on external conditions, once a leader sets a new target then the company’s resources must focus on that goal to the exclusion of all others.
If a business achieves success in one area, they think it’s just as easy to reproduce that success the same way in another. However, this often does not work out, especially in times of crisis and panic.
Rather, true leaders will inspire the workforce to concentrate on the task at hand and set realistic, achievable goals.