leadership skills

Leadership skills

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Leadership qualities and leadership traits have become buzzwords for organizational management and personal development. But what does leadership really entail? And what challenges are value chain leaders confronted with? Here at Inchainge, we have always concerned ourselves with the question of what makes a leader a good leader. Read more about leadership in our article.

What is leadership?

Leadership can come in many forms and shapes. Earliest conceptions of leadership go back hundreds, if not thousands of years. Leadership often had a negative aftertaste, such as in Machiavelli’s The Prince. A leader should be feared, rather than loved, especially if both is impossible. For centuries, leadership was about military prowess, domination, and oppression.

Today, leadership is no longer about conquering countries, but about leading businesses and organizations. What makes a good leader therefore changed. A good leader not only inspires others by creating a vision for a common goal, but also knows how to direct the efforts of the team towards a goal.

Leadership types

There are many ways to be a good leader, but some have turned out to be particularly successful.

The concept of the T-shaped manager was first originated by David Guest and its principles have been promoted a lot since then. The central idea of the T-shaped manager is that they combine the benefits of deep (technical) knowledge and problem-solving skills. These skills are used in a particular functional or business area with broad communication skills across different areas, within or across firms.

Another conception of leadership has been originated by Jack Welch, former long-time CEO of General Electric. In this conception there are four vital angles to leadership.

  • As a leader you have to be the Chief Meaning Officer, not only explaining to people where you want to go, but also showing clearly what’s in it for them if they join you on the journey.
  • Furthermore, you need to be the Chief Broom Officer, getting rid of the organizational clutter, removing the silos.
  • You also need to be the Chief Generosity Officer, enjoying your colleague’s successes, not focusing only on yourself.
  • Finally, Welch mentions the role of the Chief Fun Officer. Thereby celebrating small victories with the team and making them into big victories, having fun at the job every single day.

What leadership style works for you and your organization depends on numerous factors. Furthermore, it is dependent on your personality, but some skills are vital for every value chain leader.

Leadership skills for the value chain

Within every company, leaders have several tasks. These are particularly complex within supply chain management, but can be narrowed down to:

  • Performance management
    In the end, companies are made up of people. Usually, companies put in place certain performance measurements and targets. This in order to set a goal to be reached within a certain time frame. Ideally, the leader in question ensures that these performance indicators create a healthy challenge to make things happen.
  • Stakeholder management
    The activities within the scope of the supply chain have a bearing on many other departments in the company. Ideally, a leader creates cross-functional forums by bringing people together across levels, functions, and geographies. This in order to solve problems and make decisions in real time.
  • Trust management
    The fact that the supply chain is full of potentially conflicting issues due to its cross-functionality is what makes leadership such an important aspect of the supply chain. Trust between team members, between the team and their leader, and between the leader and external parties is thus crucial for performance.

Key Takeaways

Being a Value Chain leader comes with a lot of complexity and responsibility – working across departments, setting targets, and managing stakeholders are only some of the important skills needed when managing the supply chain. Here at Inchainge, we develop Value Chain Leaders: Our simulations do not only focus on teaching technical skills, but also dedicate attention to the intangible side of leadership!

Want to know more about leadership skills at Inchainge?

Here at Inchainge, we develop value chain leaders. But what do we mean by that? Our business games do not only provide you with the knowledge and the technical skills of what it means to build a successful value chain.

We also help you build a solid foundation of leadership skills by addressing how to set targets and encourage performance. Furthermore, you will learn how to create an atmosphere of trust, internally and externally. And, how to lead supply chain management across functional departments. Besides, you can learn more about different topics in our articles on the Inchainge website. Have a look to read more about topics such as soft skills or building teams.