Leadership Skills for the trucking industry


Leadership skills development within any industry is critical, as they are, in any other industry or groups of organizations. In relation to productivity and employee relationships, leadership skills  development are important to the success of a business and when members aren’t mentored and developed effectively success may soon become a failure.

There are many leadership theories and training organisations out there providing good guidance for employers and employees. There is one essential factor which generally tends to take a back seat to the mainstream leadership skills. “Not everyone has the personal skills to be a good leader”.

Many can be guided along a path that will allow them to enhance their ability to lead others, but some are just too negative and unable to take responsibility for their actions. Whether this is due to life experience, education levels or something else and there is likely to be several contributing factors for those unable to show good leadership skills.

In this article, I will concentrate on those with the potential to become effective leaders. There are only two types of leaders and those are, “effective leaders” or “non-effective leaders” and there is no in between.

Personal Leadership Skills Development

We often start with leadership training in the wrong place, or even worse, when someone has shown a little ability after many years. This can mostly be attributed to personal confidence because an individual has been within an organization for a long period of time.

This hypothetical person may be a good leader, but ideally, managers probably should have worked with all employees and identified those that show a positive outlook, a sense of purpose and personal self-discipline. These managers could have mentored and helped them hone their leadership skills – a win-win for all.

At this early stage, we can give guidance and advice on personal leadership skills development techniques so when they get to a place where supervision of others is important they will be prepared. Navy Seals are probably one of the better organizations for developing leaders and without taking up the whole article on how they encourage great leadership skills.

There is one philosophy they instil in their operators, we can all learn from and that’s “extreme ownership”. This basically means that no matter what happens, good or bad, the leader is responsible for both the success and failure of projects and subordinates.

In other words, if there was a failure then the leader has failed to provide effective planning, briefing, operations or communications (sometimes all four).

relocation-drivers - your next leadership candidateGrowth and persistence as a leader in industry.

Extreme ownership is quite a hard concept to grasp and outside the scope of this article but if you’re interested in learning more, just google “extreme ownership”. Advanced leadership skills in industry can be quite difficult to identify when individuals and teams are fragmented because of distance.

For example, truck drivers tend to work away from the home location and generally work on their own. In terms of leadership, every truck driver probably should have some guidance and mentoring on personal leadership as they are the face of your company.

So, it’s important here to look at which parts of the transport industry could be well positioned to have the leadership skills to take charge and lead. Those operating out of an office and controlling general logistical functions are the key to effective management of personnel and freight.

It’s these employees that need the most guidance and in relation to leadership skills development.

They liaise daily, sometimes hourly, with drivers out in the field and are the link between drivers and senior managers. Their job can be quite stressful and without the ability to manage internal and external stresses their productivity will decrease potentially causing issues out in the field.

Probably in terms of drivers, leadership skills development would help them understand personal responsibilities and help them to gain respect for others within the organization. A half day to full day leadership awareness training should help them achieve this outcome.

Middle and Senior Managers Leadership Skills development.

Of cause, any development program would need pre-training analysis by senior leaders within a  business so that it is moulded and specifically relevant to a group of employees. When it comes to such an individualized and personal development strategy one size doesn’t fit all.

If managers can take away one thing from any leadership skills program it would be methods of positive personal development. Without understanding yourself it’s much harder to understand the needs and abilities of others. Taking personal ownership of issues and providing real and effective problem solving can be one of the most empowering outcomes of most programs.

Many organizations will indicate to facilitators they empower their employees when the reality is the opposite. Empowerment is a very hard thing to achieve when others may not have the same “attention to details” like you.

It can be frustrating and stressful, lowering executives or other managers ability to maintain a medium to high level of personal growth. As such, being able to communicate your plans in a very thorough way is essential and requires good leadership skills.





Resetting the basics of leadership

Those that feel they have learnt everything to know about in an industry are kidding themselves. Technology, industrial awards and agreements among other thing change constantly and it’s unlikely that one person can know everything. That’s why we surround ourselves with teams and the most functional teams know exactly what is expected of them.

They communicate well and have formed a level of respect for other members in the team over time. Many professional leadership facilitators generally start with team building sessions. Sitting around holding hands and singing “Kum-bye-ah”.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful here, but in most work locations employees and employers have been working with each other for many months or even years and don’t need to sit around holding hands and singing “Kum-bye-ah”. The relationships have generally already been formed.

Leadership skills consultants need to stimulate individuals at a much deeper and personal level. Simply doing a few activities, that potentially makes the individual feel uncomfortable, has little benefit in terms of self and team development.

Encouraging people to ask themselves why and questioning the way they do things has a far greater impact. It also establishes an environment where ideas flow freely with the outcome often being effective methods of leading one’s self.

Organisations are the primary beneficiaries of such ongoing analysis and training and in the long run, should be more successful.

Please let us know if you have a question.

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By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.

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