Help wanted: Leadership survey

Tom Moriarty says give us your take on leadership and workforce management issues at your plant.

By Tom Moriarty

Plant Services and Human Capital columnist Tom Moriarty are initiating a leadership survey that will examine the state of leadership training and development in industrial production facilities across the country. Whether you're a supervisor or a member of the general workforce, if you work in industrial manufacturing, this survey is for you. Help shape the Human Capital column and get a better view of how your organization stacks up when it comes to leadership development. Learn more below, and take our survey.

I feel blessed to have had the leadership and management training and experiences I’ve had. The reason I write this column is to pay it forward. The lives of managers, supervisors, and workers are so much better when they have excellent leadership. Excellent leadership equates to lower stress, better health and happiness for the leadership team and the entire workforce, and greater productivity and higher customer satisfaction. These combine to effect high performance overall.

Not long ago, Plant Services Editor-in-Chief Thomas Wilk and I were discussing the possibility of initiating a survey that would provide insight into the issues and areas of interest that you, the readers, would find most helpful. We both were excited by the idea, and in this month’s column, I’m going to outline our approach to this new survey. If you have comments or would like to provide any feedback, please feel free to contact me at

The survey’s purpose is to produce a better understanding of the current state of leadership at the manager/supervisor and workforce levels to better target these monthly column topics. Every month I spend time in front of my laptop thinking of a topic that I believe is relevant to the way industrial or manufacturing plants are led and managed. Sometimes the resulting columns are more-lighthearted pieces intended to provide general insight; other times I delve into more academic and technical aspects of leadership and management theory. 

My aim is that through this survey, I’ll be better able to identify the issues of most importance to you and develop other ways to deliver information to provide value for the time you spend reading this column.

A secondary purpose is to give Plant Services readers the opportunity to glean insights about the shape and state of leadership training and development in industrial production facilities across the industry. After participating in the survey, you may want to have more individuals at different levels of your workforce take part as well, or you may wish to arrange to have a dedicated survey taken at your plant as a separate project. With a large number of respondents, we should be able to describe performance in terms of quartile performance levels. Individual firms may later want to administer the survey plantwide to compare their facility’s performance relative to the mean or to quartiles.

With the purpose in mind here is an overview of the survey’s characteristics. Respondents will take one of two surveys: Managers and supervisors will take the Manager and Supervisor Survey; member of the general workforce will take the Workforce Survey.  

Some demographic information will be requested for both. No attempt will be made to collect personal information that would allow anyone to be specifically identified. We will ask for the respondent’s level of responsibility (manager or supervisor or general workforce member). We will need some general information about your organization: how many people work in your company, how many people work in your plant, your specific industry, etc.

Managers and supervisors will be asked about their level of leadership knowledge, where they obtained their training and experience in leadership, how frequently they get leadership training, etc. We will also ask them what they view as the most important leadership skills and what leadership skills they believe they need to improve.

The general workforce will be asked questions about the workplace environment, whether they believe they are encouraged to offer suggestions, whether they believe their opinions are valued, etc. The workforce will also be to rate their managers and supervisors on their strengths and weaknesses, and where they believe managers and supervisors need to improve. 

We’ll compare responses from the two groups. We expect to see some trends as well as gaps or discontinuities.

The survey is now live at “”.  I sincerely hope that you will participate and that you will encourage others to participate so there will be a large sample size from which we can publish results. It will be very helpful for me to target future articles so that the time you invest in reading this column will result in the highest possible value to you and your plant.

Read Tom Moriarty's monthly column, Human Capital.