Improving Your Leadership Skills

Posted By: Dave Ewers, Director of Content Development, Tooling U-SME on January 05, 2022

Young group of female and male manufacturing leaders communicating while walking to a meeting.

Manufacturers increasingly want and need actionable advice to help them lead more effectively. So we partnered with an expert in leadership training, Robin Storti, for a four-part webinar series dedicated to leadership in manufacturing.

Today, I’m sharing highlights from all four webinars: Leadership Communication Skills ,” Stress Management ,” “ Time Management ” and “ Team Building .”



Communication

Good communication is the No. 1 characteristic of good leadership. And to be a good communicator, you must listen carefully and ask a lot of questions.

By doing your best to understand the other person’s point of view, you can clear the path to communicating more effectively. But that isn’t always easy. First, you need to overcome numerous communication barriers — not only obvious barriers such as culture, gender, language, religion, and politics, but also less-obvious barriers such as wants, needs, and attitudes.

Second, you need to consider your method of communication. Think about your own favorite way to communicate. Do you prefer texting, emailing, calling, posting on social media, interacting in-person, writing or instant messaging? Then think about the preferred communication method of the person with whom you’re trying to connect. By using his or her favorite method, you’re more likely to get results.

You’re also more likely to be successful by being clear and straight with your message — even if you’re delivering bad news. But whatever the information being conveyed, remember to present it in a mindful, respectful tone — regardless of the recipient’s position.



Stress Management

Stress isn’t always bad. Positive stress, called eustress, can make life more exciting. But negative stress, which can manifest itself in physical symptoms like low energy and fatigue or psychological symptoms like irritability and anxiety, can interfere with your health and your quality of life.

So if you start experiencing symptoms of negative stress, don’t ignore it. Instead, start doing something about it immediately. Get enough exercise and sleep. Avoid excessive sugar and caffeine. Decrease your alcohol intake.

Other stress-reduction methods include focusing on the present, following a routine, pursuing a hobby and hanging out with happy people. Laughter can work wonders to relieve stress.

If you do start feeling stressed out, remember to breathe through your nose and out your mouth. It’s the best way to bring your heart rate down and get yourself back in the game quickly.



Time Management

Your attitude toward time probably influences your perception of whether you have enough of it. For example, if you say, “Oh, I never have enough time,” then you probably won’t. But if you say, “I’m going to start having enough time,” then you might — because you’re going to stay focused on getting results.

Here are some ways to get those results:

Create time-saving ideas. Make an action plan to deal with time-stealers such as texts, emails, people, social media and phone notifications. For example, your action plan might be as simple as turning off notifications on your phone.

Write things down. You’re more likely to remember something if you take the physical act of writing it down, whether it’s in your calendar or in a priority note.

Delegate. Not only will delegating save you hours of time, it will provide you with the perfect opportunity to train people and make them feel valued.

Use the 80/20 rule. The trick is to prioritize. By spending 20% of your time focusing on efforts that will achieve 80% of results, you’ll be ahead of schedule and can get more tasks accomplished. The same goes for your team.



Team Building

We hear a lot about team building these days, but why is it so important?

First of all, creating a team automatically provides you with more resources. After all, you only know what you know. But when you’re part of a team, you can take advantage of what the other members know — which is a critical factor in problem-solving, productivity and efficiency. As the old saying goes, “Many hands make light work.”

Plus, teams are great for motivation. Members stimulate and inspire each other.

However, for a team to be able to make decisions and come to a consensus, its members need to follow some simple guidelines, including respecting others, being open minded, providing honest feedback, and practicing patience.

To learn more about effective leadership, view our entire on-demand “Leadership in Manufacturing” webinar series here.



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