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Team Leaders take centre stage

Posted by: Mark Jones 16 Mar 16 - 2:31PM  | Henry Noteman blog

With manufacturing in the UK taking a key role in driving economic recovery over the last 3 years, how have traditional production companies changed with the times?

Team Leaders take centre stageCast your mind back if you can, to the 1970s and 80s when manufacturing production was in full swing in Britain.  Across the shop-floors of most manufacturers, activity was driven by the traditional foreman or supervisor; a robust and direct character, comfortable giving orders and expecting them to be carried out, never shy of imposing discipline.    Ah the good old days, when everyone knew their place and gave their all to the cause, right?

Not really… This was a structure fraught with conflict, with little empathy and relationship between foreman and workers, where authority often equated to fear.  This culture of toe-the-line and following orders left little opportunity for innovation and improvement.

Step forward 30 years and manufacturing has evolved significantly.  Now more than ever before, teams are self-directing, operating within flat structures often with blurred or collective lines of responsibility.   Whilst the need to deliver results and get the best out of the team has not and will not ever go away, the approach in today’s manufacturing companies is fundamentally different.

Meet the new Team Leader; an individual whose role centres around empowering a team to deliver better results, engaging with both the group as a whole and on an individual level to drive improvement.  This evolution has sprung from the recognition that in today’s increasingly competitive global market, the contribution of each individual has a significant impact on the success of the business as a whole.

This change in approach has encouraged a spirit of continuous improvement both in the work content and the team members, but has also meant that the competencies and approach of the Team Leader have changed.   How do employers therefore ensure they get the right people into these critical roles?

Jonathan Lee Recruitment, with its roots in the 1970s has seen this evolution through with our clients and as the industry has changed and the demands for highly capable Team Leaders have grown.  Our Talent Management consultancy team have studied these changes, and have focused on the role of the Team Leader to understand the key characteristics of truly great team leaders.

For more than 15 years, we have successfully delivered assessment centres for recruiting and selecting the right people for our clients but have also delivered targeted development programmes for existing Team Leaders who want to improve their effectiveness in role against known competencies such as communication skills, influencing, problem solving, leadership, planning or prioritising.   To get the best results and therefore the best people, these assessment and development programmes must reflect the realistic content of the role and objectively assess each characteristic.

We achieve this by creating bespoke job related exercises which are aimed at understanding both individual and group behaviour. For added validity the exercises are supplemented by some industry standard psychometric preference assessments to gain a more in-depth understanding of the person behind the role.  Our winning factor?  The Jonathan Lee Talent Management team are HR experts with direct experience in the manufacturing industry.  We really understand the role, the exercises, and the calibration of results.  

The Talent Management approach is most commonly used for external appointments, but we are seeing an increasing demand from our clients for internal candidates with high potential to be included in the process, with a strong focus on performance feedback to help them develop their overall ability.

Team Leaders will always play a crucial role as the lynchpin between management demands and delivery by the workforce.  Organisations who invest in their Team Leader selection and development are in the best place to stay one step ahead of their competition.

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