Supply Chain Leadership Even If It Isn’t in Your Title

I volunteer at a food pantry and one day I asked the people there if in their career life they had ever had a good boss. None of the people I spoke to could remember even one good boss.

When you talk about bosses, you are really taking about leadership. Good leaders are needed everywhere, but Supply Chain despite its technological intensity ultimately is a people business and a team operation requires good leadership.

No matter where one is in the supply chain, the top, the bottom or somewhere in between it is important to know that leadership is required. Much has been written on leadership but here are things particularly important in logistics and the supply chain.

  • Developing a clear ideas on what needs to be accomplished and how can it be measured.
  • Understanding how this affects other members of the supply chain team you are working within the company and without. This requires the ability to listen to them, and the ability to learn. Respect for everyone is a key. That respect should include seeing the process from their perspective.
  • Empowering the appropriate personnel to act as needed. It might be that your first thought is only your boss can do this.  Maybe that person has the ultimate power but if the boss does not know there is reason to empower a person it might never happen. Yes, you can provide leadership even when you are not the boss.
  • As problems occur, look as these as opportunities to learn from errors or the environment of the business and do better.
  •  Put the processes in writing, but not in stone, so as things change, the process and you can change. You can provide leadership to change the process as appropriate.

Yes, leadership requires one more thing, passion.  Passion for the people who work with you, again inside and outside the company. Passion to be on task and do a good job. Passion to make the process enjoyable.

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