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Management Isn’t Just a Title Change

5 tips to help you be your best.

Regardless of your company’s product lines, you provide solutions for your customers. In order to provide those solutions, we as material handling professionals need to be at our best, and that requires effective leadership. In my 17 years in the material handling industry, I have had a chance to examine the leadership styles of many managers. Now that I find myself in a management position, I’ve tried to apply the good lessons and learn from the not-so-good.

Tip #1: If it’s a concern to them, it should be a concern to you.

  • Listen to those you supervise.
  • Take their concerns seriously.
  • Follow through on concerns in a timely fashion.

Tip #2: Want efficient, flexible employees? Model that for them.

  • Keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
  • Being “hands-on” doesn’t mean tying employees’ hands- let them work.

Tip #3: Teach employees early- and keep them learning

  • Keep employees engaged in learning.
  • Make sure they learn to really listen.
  • Be open to questions. Employees look to your experience as a guide.

Tip #4: Reinforce customer-centered service.

  • Remind employees that the customer is the root of your business.
  • Encourage flexibility in dealing with customer needs.
  • Promote effective time management to ensure prompt responses to customers.

Tip #5: Shape tomorrow’s leaders today.

  • This industry can be overwhelming at first. Guide those new to the business.
  • It’s easier to learn good habits from the start than to unlearn bad ones later on.
  • Keep employees engaged. Don’t let complacency creep in.

These tips may seem like common sense, but it’s all too easy to forget any one of them in your day-to-day work, especially as responsibilities pile up. If you’re an effective leader, you’ll be the model for tomorrow’s managers. Never forget that people are at the heart of your job, no matter your company’s product lines.

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association
Mike Olson Meet the Author
Mike Olson, 37, is operations manager for Badger Toyotalift (New Berlin, WI). Mike has been involved in the material handling business for 17 years and says he’s never stopped learning from day 1. He also enjoys the high level of customer interaction the industry brings.

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