Client Resources, Professional Growth

How to be a Strong Team Leader in Supply Chain

As a leader in your supply chain organization, it’s your job to guide your colleagues towards accomplishing specific goals. Even if you consistently reach your goals, could your leadership use some improvement? Here are three ways to help you evaluate your effectiveness as a leader and see where you can improve:

Do you connect and communicate effectively?

To build a strong culture of accountability, you need to create a genuine personal connection with your teammates. When your team members trust you, they’ll perform better. And as the leader, you need to be able to clearly communicate what you want them to do—and how to do it—in a way that makes sense to them.

  • When employees have a sense their leader is trustworthy, they’ll invest themselves and their skills.
  • Remember the following axiom: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
  • Communicate simply and concisely. Cut to the chase and hit the high points.
  • Listen. Instead of delivering lectures or monologues, have conversations.
  • Keep an open mind. Allow your team members to express dissenting opinions and opposing positions so you can understand their position.
  • When you speak, know what you’re talking about!

What’s your conflict management style?

In a leadership role, you often have to facilitate the resolution of conflicts. Otherwise, your team will be distracted, less productive, unmotivated and frustrated. You can:

  • Be Collaborative: Work with your team members to develop the skills necessary to resolve conflicts on their own.
  • Be Compromising: Encourage both sides to make concessions when necessary rather than continuing to debate or argue.
  • Be Proactive: You can define the root cause of the problem, encourage active listening and negotiate a resolution—but when resolving the conflict involves a controversial or unpopular decision, you may want to delegate to a third party, such a facilitator or mediator.

Do you request feedback?

You’ll gain valuable perspective on your leadership approach and style, and possibly discover areas that need improvement, if you ask for feedback from mentors, fellow professionals and your team members. Or, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I teach or do I just tell?
  • Do I build trust and respect or do I rule by fear?
  • Do I connect my team’s work to company goals to give their work meaning?
  • Am I enabling my team to fulfill their greatest potential?

Aside from helping your team work more efficiently and keeping them happy and productive, being an effective leader can positively impact your supply chain career. Supply chain managers are in demand, and your reputation may get you promoted or even recruited.

As longtime, experienced professionals, the team at ZDA Supply Chain Recruiting in Denver, knows the value of employees who know how to both run a supply chain and take a leadership role. Call us anytime you’d like to discuss your career progression and how you can take it to the next level.

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