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Inspiration + perspiration: How to step up as a team leader

Feb. 9, 2022
Thomas Wilk says it’s time to be the leader you want to follow.

The February issue of Plant Services has become our unofficial leadership issue. There’s something about this topic that lends itself to starting a new year.

From a practical level, this is the best opportunity to look at your training budget and identify the investments you’ll be making this year to grow the skills of your team. And as Tom Moriarty makes clear in this month’s cover story, targeted training can make a huge difference between success and failure for your team, and especially for first-time managers:

“The 2021 Alidade MER/Plant Services Leadership Survey showed that the typical supervisor received no leadership training before being promoted to supervisor. And, on average supervisors received less than five hours of leadership training per year,” he writes. “Supervisors directly influence the largest percentage of people, and (yet) tend to have the least preparation and experience in leadership capabilities.”

Sheila Kennedy also takes the opportunity in her Tech Toolbox column this month to tackle skills assessments. She showcases a number of tools that can help you pinpoint areas on your team needing improvement, identify team members who already stand out, and develop individual training plans and facility plans for closing identified skill gaps.

Complementing both of these articles is a contribution from Paul Borders of Life Cycle Engineering on how to keep your project initiatives from stalling or otherwise losing momentum. He underscores why a formal project governance process is key both for holding leaders accountable and for helping them keep their teams motivated and executing month after month.

From the Editor

This article is part of our monthly From the Editor column. Read more from Thomas Wilk.

However, good leadership cannot be all perspiration. In this month’s From The Plant Floor column, Jeff Shiver reinforces the inspiration value of holding regular group floor walks: “Rather than the typical task focus, we took time to look in all directions, take in unusual sounds and smells, feel equipment, and observe for improvements. As I invested in relationships with the people, I earned their trust.”

You’ll also find several articles in this issue that profile leadership in the area of sustainability, from mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and maintaining reliable drinking water systems to reducing water waste and fixing costly energy-draining compressed air leaks.

We’re also excited this month to launch a 12-part podcast series with George Williams and Joe Anderson of ReliabilityX. The series, Assets Anonymous, is designed to help you and your teams embrace continuous improvement. The first episode, “Understanding Reactivity,” is now available as part of our Tool Belt podcast series; the episode also is complemented by Doc Palmer’s column this month on how to proactively keep reactive work from happening.

This year, I encourage you to be the leader you want to be.

This story originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

About the Author: Thomas Wilk
Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University.
About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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