We have seen many individuals rising through the ranks to become leaders in their own right. So the question is this: What truly helps a leader to stand out from the rest of the crowd? As the world becomes more globalised and the workforce evolves to include knowledge workers (people whose main capital is knowledge), leaders are no longer expected to be simply managers.
The leader is a visionary, always with his or her eye on the horizon instead of looking simply at the bottom line. In logistics and supply chain management, wholesome strategies are increasingly more important than simple cost cutting in helping the company gain a competitive edge.
So with this in mind, what are the top 5 personality traits that a great logistic leader usually has? Let's take a look.
A successful leader inspires trust and focuses on people. They tend to empower their people (followers, not subordinates) and give them opportunities to realise their true potential.
For leaders, nothing is more important than being able to gain the full trust of their followers. These followers are more than happy to work for the company and will tend to contribute their talents wholeheartedly. Genuine logistic leaders are usually very much aware of their strengths, limitations and emotions. They are honest and open with their teams, and have healthy respect for others, a strong sense of integrity imbued in their system, as well as a solid ethical code which they live by.
Being at the top of the company could trigger a power trip for many leaders, but a great logistics leader is one who puts his company's mission and goals ahead of his own. These leaders are more interested in generating results through innovative solutions that focus on the long term, and not just fixate on the fulfilment of the quarterly quota. Success in driving costs down while improving performance and ROI is what defines a true logistics leader.
A vision is nothing if a leader cannot communicate it effectively to her team. Hence, a great logistics leader must have excellent communication skills and charisma and can do more than just pass on information. Their words should carry weight and inspire their followers to pursue it with vigour and passion. By igniting a spark within their followers, leaders become not just a figurehead but a motivational figure in the lives of those that they influence.
The ability to communicate with one's followers or co-workers is a crucial skill, and it becomes even more powerful when it is partnered with empathy. Leaders with a high level of emotional intelligence are often able to empower their people and maximise their potential. By recognising and empathising with the difficulties faced by their teams, leaders can identify themselves closely with their followers and in turn inspire them to achieve amazing results.
Great logistics leaders have vision. They are not content to simply rest on their laurels. Leaders with vision are all about bringing about positive changes to supply chain management. Not only are they enthusiastic about their vision, they also inspire their followers to achieve the same goals.
Of course, the list above is non-exhaustive. Not everyone is a born leader or has the abovementioned skills but it does not mean that being a leader is unachievable. All it takes is time to develop and nurture the said traits. However, if you are truly motivated to become a leader to your people in logistics and supply management, start working on enhancing these five qualities for a start.
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Sean Li, Director - Shanghai Office
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