Back to Blog

6 Training Steps for Building Successful Leaders

By Holly Mockus   |   
Leadership training

Being good at your job doesn’t always make you a good leader. In manufacturing, new supervisors or managers are often selected based on how well they do their jobs, attendance, and attitudes – not their ability to lead. Without proper leadership training, new managers are set to fail. Even worse, bad managers can cause other employees to leave in this age of mass resignations.

New managers require skills like actively listening, dealing with difficult people, and resolving conflicts.  

Managers often think of themselves as leaders because they have people reporting to them.

A leader should be someone people follow even if they don’t report directly to them. Manager titles don’t automatically produce leaders. Instead, new managers should be judged by their actions. Whether their title is lead supervisor, superintendent, or manager, their behavior determines whether or not their team considers them good or poor leaders.

Research shows that good leaders impact employee engagement by up to 70%, improving safety and quality, employee productivity, absenteeism, and employee turnover. The contrast between a good and a bad leader can be incredibly stark. Consider these examples:

  • A good leader tells you “why” as well as “what” and “how.”  
  • A good leader coaches and supports instead of telling and yelling. 
  • A good leader focuses on what’s right instead of dwelling on the negative.

The truth is, leadership doesn’t come naturally to most people. But the great news is that leadership skills can be trained. Here are six skills new managers will need to learn early in their new roles to be successful, especially when friends are involved.

  1. Make the Leap from Friend to Manager
    One of the biggest hurdles new managers face is the transition from friend to manager. It can be one of the most complex and delicate moves to make. New managers can have strong friendships with other workers yet still be respected for their new role. However, the balance is complicated.
  2. Set Clear expectations
    When transitioning from fellow employee to manager, new managers must set clear expectations and boundaries. They should talk with their teams individually to assure them that everyone will be treated the same and what will be expected of them. Also, ask the team to communicate openly about any feedback or concerns.
  3. Prepare to be Challenged
    Listen to what employees say, maintain the proper perspective, and be firm when necessary and flexible when possible. Challenges will likely arise from friends who feel they should receive special privileges. New managers should explain that treating friends differently will make it more difficult for the team to reach its goals. And friends should be interested in helping the new manager succeed and expect the same treatment as their peers during work hours while remaining friends after the end of their shift.
  4. Remember the Importance of First Impressions
    New managers have an excellent opportunity to establish ground rules and expectations for a short period of time. At that moment, employees who advance to managers know what working the floor is like. And they’ve probably listened to fellow employees complain and make recommendations that might have gone unheeded. New managers can take that information early in their transition to fix the little things that can be seen as early wins.
  5. Develop Active and Flexible Listening Skills
    As a recent line employee, the new manager might know what it’s like when management doesn’t listen. Use that recent experience to help develop empathy and active listening skills to make their new team members feel included and valued. Training can help emerging leaders improve how they listen and turn that feedback into something actionable.
  6. Set Boundaries and Maintain Discipline
    Sometimes empathy can be carried too far, leading new managers to overlook bad behaviors and habits that jeopardize safety and quality. While it’s essential to understand and appreciate the concerns of frontline workers, managers must still hold employees accountable for their actions. It is possible to show empathy without looking the other way.  

Intertek Alchemy provides leadership training that addresses all of these and other scenarios that new managers will encounter during their first few months on the job. With the right training, your new managers have the tools and resources to help retain staff and achieve your company goals.

Contact us to learn more.

Share:       |    Related Topics:    Training

Like what you see?

Join our network of innovators and stay on top of the latest tips, trends, and best practices for manufacturing professionals.