This blog is part of a series discussing 5 Ways Manufacturers Mitigate the Effects of Employee Turnover. In this blog we will focus on our third recommendation: Develop Your Leaders.

Very often I begin to work with manufacturers and find they fail to build their team. For some reason, leaders settle for the team they inherit, or just feel they must work with what they have. I often ask leaders, who is your best leader? When I hear the answer, I challenge them to think about what if most of their leaders were like him/her? That starts the conversation of the leader taking ownership of the team they lead.

Once a leader accepts that ownership, they must assess each leader under their supervision. The objective is to understand where the gaps are and develop them to a higher level of effectiveness.

Many manufacturers neglect this responsibility and become vulnerable to the effects of being surrounded by poor leadership:

  • Poor performance: poor leaders fail to drive accountability and support their teams. The result is an unproductive team that fails to deliver on their expectations.
  • No synergy: poor leaders fail to create trusting relationships and therefore their teams lack cohesiveness.
  • Low morale: poor leaders create an environment where there is a lot of frustration and destructive conflict.
  • High turnover: poor leaders create higher levels of turnover; impacting the business through staffing, onboarding, and training costs.
  • Poor culture: poor leaders typically don’t align with a desirable culture and foster many poor leadership behaviors (micromanaging, taking credit for others, dishonesty, etc.)

A very common mistake manufacturers make is to promote individuals that are good workers to leadership roles. These leaders fail to understand that the skill set needed for these two roles is very different. When assessing leadership ability, make sure you cover both technical ability and leadership skills.


Girl in a jacket

Manufacturers should provide developmental support through the following activities: One-on-one coaching, formal skills training, and provide situations and challenges that will allow the leader to grow. These activities should reinforce the following behaviors:

Management Behaviors

  • Measuring performance
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Problem solving
  • Results driven; process oriented
  • Understanding the Lean principles
  • Proactiveness

Leadership Behaviors

  • Respect for employees
  • Authentic
  • Coaching
  • Supportive leader
  • Accountability
  • Adjustable leadership style
  • Lead by example
  • Emotional intelligence

Being surrounded by a strong leadership team provides significant relief to you, your employees and the entire business.

In my next blog, I will discuss the third recommendation to mitigate the effects of employee turnover: Build processes to reinforce culture identity.

If your manufacturing organization is dealing with high employee turnover and you would like to discuss your situation, schedule a call.

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