Engaging Shopfloor Teams

If there is ever a need to improve our shopfloor team engagement, it’s now!  Why? In my conversations with Supply Chain leaders every week, I’ve heard the following to be what’s holding back businesses right now:

Shortage of skilled labour. In fact, finding labour in general is tough now.
Teams are constantly running with less people due to sickness & isolation.
Poor frontline leadership capabilities unable to engage shopfloor teams effectively.

In a nutshell, you are stuck in 3rd gear (you’ll only understand this if you’ve driven a manual shift vehicle).

I’ve been working with frontline leaders (Team Leaders, Supervisors, Production Managers) helping them to be more confident and lead teams effectively. Most frontline leaders are promoted from within the team. However, once an outstanding team member, can soon become a helpless frontline leader. Here’s why:

  • Mechanical vs Human Connection: operating machines is technical, but leading teams is complex and ambiguous.
  • Fixing vs Coaching Approach: an operator fixes problems, and the focus is on self-worth. A leader facilitates problem-solving, and the focus is on ‘team worth’.
  • Running vs Improving Mindset: life is somewhat straightforward for an operator – just run the machine. However, a frontline leader needs to be an expert juggler good at multi-tasking and improving team performance.

One of the easiest ways to improve team engagement is through effective feedback.  Just patting on the back of the shoulder at the end of the shift and telling them “Good job mate, let’s do it again tomorrow” is not effective feedback.

Here are three tips to improve feedback effectiveness:

  1. Asking for feedback is more powerful than giving feedback.
  2. Deliver feedback with the ‘gift mindset’ – your intention is to help the other individual.
  3. Be specific and timely.

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Hidden Growth Opportunities

Ishan Galapathy is a renowned Operational expert in the food industry. In this book, he provides straight talk to leaders in the food sector who are challenged with the task of driving their company’s profitable growth.

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