What are the key skills logistics supervisors need to be successful?
Do I Need “People Skills” As A Leader?
The biggest myth in a logistics or warehouse operation is that frontline leaders only need to know technical skills to be proficient and do not need to worry about people skills.
The fact is, that warehouse supervisors do have to have a lot of knowledge around:
- How to run the computer systems
- Operating clerical systems
- The shipping and receiving functions
By knowing this, they can make sure that their teams understand what is expected of them. That is still not enough! They also need to have the interpersonal and communication skills that are needed to get team members to run those systems efficiently.
The biggest myth in a logistics or warehouse operation is that frontline leaders only need to know technical skills to be proficient and do not need to worry about people skills. Click To Tweet
A Typical Fatal Flaw Businesses Make
We had one client who had invested in state-of-the-art IT systems to support their logistics operations. They had a very good ERP system, flowing orders in, printing out labels, creating the pick lists that people needed, and they wondered why their efficiencies were not increasing, even after this great investment they had made in processes.
It turns out that they had made probably what is a typical fatal flaw. They thought if you design the process, then the process will drive the people. In most business systems it is the people that drive the processes.
If you are going to invest in systems, you also need to invest in the people skills. This ensures your team members are engaged and motivated to use those systems to their full potential.
If you are going to invest in systems, you also need to invest in the people skills. Click To Tweet
What Skills Are Necessary?
What are the key logistics supervisor skills that are necessary?
Number One: Communicate Expectations
Expectations can be around the numerical metrics, but they can also be around taking the time to make sure you have done the job right. Most importantly, do your team members know what winning looks like today?
Have you defined what winning the day is for your department? Have you, as the frontline supervisor, done a good job of communicating goals and expectations so that your team knows whether they are winning or losing on a given day?
Number Two: Train And Engage
The training part works with new team members or associates that you have on your team. They need to feel that you have given them the adequate training so that they can do the job skills well.
If you put somebody in a situation where they do not feel they know how to do the tasks that you have assigned them, that is going to cause frustration and embarrassment. It could cause them to decide, “You know what, I am going to go work somewhere else where the job is easier.”
That is why giving them the proper training is important.
In terms of engagement, that is really around communicating feedback and asking for people’s opinions, while providing them with some degree of encouragement. It makes them feel included.
Number Three: Involve
It is very tempting as leaders, especially ones that are very systems dependent to always want to tell people what to do. The communication tends to be one way between the leader and the team member. In reality, most team members want to be asked. Newer team members are more likely to want to be consulted by the leader instead of just having what they need to do to be imposed on them.
To recap, those three skills are:
- Communicate expectations effectively
- Train & engage
- Involve them in the success of the operation
When you do those three things you are going to have a winning combination.
What Are the Next Steps?
After you have effectively applied these skills you may decide that it i s time to work on the other leadership skills that are essential for success.
That is where we come in at Unique Training and Development and Frontline Leadership Systems. It begins with a visit to our website at uniquedevelopment.com, and if it looks like it is a good fit as it is for many companies, we want you to initiate a conversation. You can reach us through our web form or by giving us a call.
Together we can work as partners in the success of your organization.