Why Your Warehouse Supervisors Need Support

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Do your warehouse supervisors need support? We need to look at the support that your supervisors feel so that they can, in turn, create supportive relationships with their team.

The myth many management teams believe is that if people needed support, they would ask for it. Many supervisors, and even team members, are reluctant to ask for help because it makes them look weak or unable to do their jobs.

The fact is that warehouse supervisors need to feel that they themselves receive solid support to then be able to create a supportive environment for their team members.

What Does the Research Suggest?

In some research in the Journal for Applied Psychology, the authors Linda Rhodes Shanik and Robert Eisenberger identified that the organizations that supported their supervisors and their leaders tended to create an environment where the supervisors acted in a supportive way to the team members.

The leaders created a supportive environment for team members once they received support themselves. This produces several payoffs because not only did productivity increase and error rates were reduced, but it also increased morale, attitude, and culture. It drove down turnover rates and increased retention. 

The Effects of Insufficient Support

The supervisors in one warehouse we worked with felt that they lacked support. This included their management team, operations managers, and some of the support departments that they relied on. They adopted the mindset, “I guess I have to be the one that does everything.” They hunkered down, and they got very individualistic. In doing so, they became quite negative and cynical towards the company. It especially showed in their willingness to support their team members. Consequently, they started withdrawing from that supportive environment because they felt they were not being supported.

We did some training with the management team and the supervisors and ensured they got what they needed to be successful. That then cascaded in the supervisors showing that same level of support to the team members, and overall results went up, turnover dropped, and engagement was through the roof. 

Three Ways to Increase Support 

Here are three tips for you to increase the level of support for your warehouse supervisors.

Number One: Increase Your Awareness

Pay attention and take the comments seriously that you hear from people. They might be framed as cynical or sarcastic, but there may be some truth behind it. If your supervisors do not feel they are being supported to the level they need, they cannot drive the success of your operation. Be more aware of that.

Number Two: Practice Servant Leadership

Servant leadership as a concept says that instead of viewing the organization as “I am your boss, and you do what I say,” we flip it upside down and say, “You are serving the customer and adding value. How can I support you in doing that better?”

When managers view their primary role as supporting the supervisors, they will also start to look at how they can serve the needs of their team members who are making the work happen and driving value for customers.

Number Three: Ask and Deliver 

It can be scary when a manager asks their team members, “What can I do to be more supportive of you?” They become immediately worried it will be a very long list of things they will have trouble delivering.

It is essential to ask your people, “What could I do to help support your performance and your ability to drive the results we are looking for?” From there, you can start to look at that list and not overpromise and underdeliver but look at the things you can put into action that will drive the success that people need to feel more supported.

Strengthen Your Support System

Once you have incorporated a support system for your warehouse supervisors, there are other leadership skills you can enhance. Our Front Line Leadership program is ideal for that! 

We can arrange to come on-site and provide in-person or deliver a virtual experience from our state-of-the-art virtual training studio.

Another option is our Front Line Leadership On Demand program. It allows individuals to learn the valuable leadership skills they need and implement them at their own pace. These options, of course, can get narrowed down by having a conversation with us. And the best way to connect is through our website at uniquedevelopment.com.

We can have a conversation about what will drive the success of your leaders and your organization so we can put a plan into action. It could be a short-term workshop or a long-term leadership development journey. We look forward to becoming your partners in organizational excellence.