How Middle Managers Can Make or Break Supply Chains - Procurement News

Life & Style | by Chris Richardson on 29/05/2016 12:42 | 3 comments

Can middle managers or supervisors make or break your supply chain company? Are organisations selecting the wrong people for these roles?

Middle Managers

To watch the video of this article, click here.

Over the years working and consulting in a wide variety of business, health, and education settings, I have noticed a common and obvious trend. The selection of supervisors or middle managers from the existing employee pool.

For some workplaces this is a smart choice. You know the person, their work history, and their technical skills, and, as the senior manager or company owner, you generally like them.

Plus, it saves a truckload of recruitment time, costs and fees.

Capability Struggles

So what’s wrong with this common practice?

Well it depends. Often the successful employee displays all the seemingly right characteristics: reliability, dependability, happy to go the ‘extra mile’, and deference to their superiors!

But what happens when they now have to supervise and direct their former colleagues? Did they suddenly get an USB stick full of management and leadership skills to download into their brain?

Did that person immediately demonstrate new behaviours, negotiation skills, creative and collaborative thinking, and ability to motivate their team? Probably not.

They usually struggle big time with the change. They’re like a duck on a pond – seemingly calm upon the surface, but paddling away furiously under the water.

They have no idea how to manage and lead their people. The shelf life of these middle managers is around two years if you’re lucky.

Some senior managers may think, “when they resign or burnout, I’ll just promote someone else”.

Cultural Harm

But what’s the real issue here for your company? It’s culture destroying. Supervisors or middle managers who are thrown into the deep end of the pool without a buoyancy vest usually sink.

And they will take down the rest of the workforce with them.

It’s usually a slow insidious slide:

  • grumblings from workers,
  • dissatisfaction on how they’re being treated or spoken to,

with a resulting in a decrease in productivity, increase in accidents (real or concocted), sabotage of company assets, absenteeism, and an unhappy workplace.

Why would any CEO or business owner want that?

What can you do?

Invest in them – train, educate, coach and mentor them. A one off induction just won’t cut it. It takes time, practice and a willingness to master new skills.

If you have ever been motivated by a inspirational person at any time in your life be it a footy coach, church leader, primary school teacher, or the old guy/gal next door, then you know how it affects you and your environment around you – in a great way!

So why not get your newly appointed supervisors or middle managers on the leadership bus?

The ROI will be worth every cent! You’ll have functioning teams, increased productivity, less absenteeism and WorkCover claims, and a place employees want to continue working for.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?!

Learn more about developing leadership skills, both your own and your team’s, and get to grips with some great life and style thinking at www.productiveminds.com.au.


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Author

Chris Richardson

People Soft Skills Specialist!

Hi I’m Chris from Productive Minds. I grew up in a small country town on the western highway in Victoria Australia that had heaps of trucks making the “big run” to Adelaide and then onto Perth. A group of us kids used to hang out of the sun under a huge old peppercorn tree trying to be the first to identify what make the prime mover was. It was a competition to shout out what it was, “International! Mack! Kenworth!” Of course, there was a punishment for getting it wrong… and I copped my share of bruises from getting knuckled in the arm… still, the fascination and thrill of what I later realized was a multi-billion dollar Transport and Logistics industry never left me. Today I live in the Western suburbs… the epicenter of the logistics industry in Victoria …it’s hard not to notice all the trucks with containers from all over the world constantly going to and from the wharves or the warehouses in Laverton and Truganina. I always wonder where that product came from and how did it get here? How many different people have handled that plastic wrapped box sitting on that pallet? Always knowing someone, somewhere wants it …and usually yesterday! The sounds of the machinery, warning bells, people yelling out, flashing lights and Fluoro jacketed forklift drivers scurrying everywhere, make these fascinating places to observe. I especially find it interesting watching how people interact with each other, sometimes in a good way—but all too often the way in which “staff & staff” and “staff & management” communicate is shocking… I know from over 30 years of industry experience that when this “communication” is embedded in an organization’s culture it directly contributes to low morale, increased absenteeism, work cover claims and low productivity… and ultimately creates a business that consistently under performs. I’ve dedicated my career to understanding what makes people tick… and after 30 something years, I’ve seen time and time again, that people who are given the right training and skills in communication and leadership can—and will—create a productive and profitable workplace for both themselves, their team mates and their company. So could I be happier working with companies that have big sheds, big trucks and lots of complex and interesting people? I doubt it! Thanks for your interest and let’s have a conversation sometime. Chris


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