John Quincy Adams once wrote, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." President Adams knew a thing or two about what it takes to be a leader. Being able to inspire others to be their best is a key component of effective leadership.
We are reminded this month about the importance of leadership as we honor our annual class of Rainmakers. Each year, the advisory board of DC Velocity selects a new group of Rainmakers—individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership within our profession—from a field of candidates nominated by readers and others within the industry. This year's selections are here.
As you can read in the interviews we conducted with this year's Rainmakers, they have several traits in common. Each has been a continual learner—never satisfied with past accomplishments, but always looking to improve so that he or she is ready to take on the next challenge. They are also willing to share their expertise and experience, either as mentors for co-workers or as participants in industry events. Many serve on boards or in leadership positions at professional associations, and they regularly share their knowledge as speakers.
As leaders, they set an example within their companies for others to follow and have mastered the art of communication. Not only are they able to provide clear direction to those they supervise, but they also understand the value of listening to and learning from subordinates.
Good leaders also know their limits and rely on others on their teams to fill the gaps. They get their hands dirty and are willing to get into the trenches rather than just barking orders from the sidelines.
Interestingly, the value of leadership also came up in the report that Senior Editor Ben Ames wrote on our joint study with ARC Advisory Group on best practices in warehouse management and labor retention (please insert link to July warehouse labor study). The report shows that many of the things that attract (and help retain) good workers have to do with how well a facility is managed and led. Companies that train their employees well, provide on-the-spot feedback to workers, and follow best practices are more likely to hold onto employees and keep them happy.
"Management matters! More than half the practices that contribute to excellence are related to management techniques," Steve Banker, vice president for supply chain services at ARC, said in the report. "Good management is something that can be learned."
It takes good leadership to have good management. Strive in your work every day to be a leader worthy of the name.