Leadership can most certainly be a buzzword for executives in supply chain management looking to put a more exciting spin on the hiring and promotions process. But, the truth is that leadership in management is extremely important in driving production, a positive work environment and the overall success of a company. Managers need to lead, and they need to know how to do so.
Leading the leadersA great manager is someone who can find the best skills of their employees and use that to the company’s advantage. The same goes for that manager’s manager. In company leadership, it is important to have a finely tuned system in how to most effectively assist a manager in leading his or her team. Enter Assessment Centers, a tool that supply chain companies have been using since World War II as a way to find senior officers in military operations.
Despite the name, Assessment Centers are not physical places that assess each employee and discover their skills and how to best use them. Instead, they are a system of methods that help employers assess a small group of employees through various exercises, interviews and sample tests. Based on the results, companies can determine whether or not the employee has the skills needed to manage a team.
In addition to gaining information on the individual, the employee can often learn more through the process of an Assessment Center.Getty Images
Organizations in the Assessment Center space such as Developmental Associates say that center ratings are more accurate than other forms of employee rating systems, as it requires observation from a group of trained assessors in a controlled setting.
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) details a wide range of methods used in Assessment Centers, such as tests in biodata, cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, job knowledge, honesty and situational judgement, along with structured interviews, training exercise and the use of work samples. For instance, a participant may be tasked with the role playing exercise of assuming the role of a manager on his first day. He will then have to walk through processes such as orientation and meetings with fictitious employees.
For biodata tests, which offers a series of questions on how the individual has or would react to common life occurrences, the results are based on patterns the taker exhibits rather than individual answers.
Upskilling current leadersThe growth of technology in everyday life and work environments also means that leadership along with other employees need continual upskill training, where they learn additional skills to stay up to date with technological advancements.
PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that 20% of U.S. CEOs believed that upskilling has been very effective in assisting with digital transformation and 17% say this for workforce productivity.
While the percentages are somewhat low today, this could be the future for supply chains and companies whose operations and machines are rapidly advancing. The blue-collar workforce has expressed concern with the advancement of robotics and automated solutions taking their jobs. But if leadership takes a proactive approach at training their employees to keep up with advancing solutions, it could mean a more positive work environment in the future.
Supply chain companies are looking for employees that have a wider range of skills and some with analytical expertise for higher level roles, as data becomes more important. According to a report from Deloitte, 88% of supply chain groups are more likely to proactively search for recruits with analytical experience.
With the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, leadership will be more important now than ever as employees will look to upper management to make the right call. Unemployment worries will become rampant as both companies and consumers look to navigate the new normal and survive not only the virus, but also the recession that may follow.
This is where real leadership skills come into play and why it is so important for supply chain managers to be equipped and readily prepared.