Become The Boss People Want To Work With: Supply Chain Leadership Series Ep 12

By Published On: July 27, 2023

Listen to this Episode!

Host: Chris Gaffney

Co-Hosts: Mike Ogle and Rodney Apple

In this Episode:

In Episode 12 of the Supply Chain Careers Leadership Series Podcast, we focus on how to become the boss that people want to work with. Listen as Chris Gaffney discusses the challenges and opportunities of being a first-time people leader. He reviews the importance of setting clear expectations, being available and visible to your team, and asking for feedback. This episode also emphasizes the need to be confident and to leverage your boss’s support.

Here are some key takeaways from the episode:

  • Set clear expectations with your team.
  • Be available and visible to your team.
  • Ask for feedback from your team and your boss.
  • Be confident in your abilities.
  • Leverage your boss’s support.

What is the Supply Chain Careers Leadership Series?

The Supply Chain Careers Leadership series expands its previous content format into a more in-depth focus on leadership development. This program is a series of 10+ episodes that are hosted by our very own supply chain executive, Chris Gaffney. These episodes explore subject matter and topics that relate to excelling as a leader in the business world, much of which Chris has gleaned as VP of Supply Chain at Coca-Cola. Familiar faces and fellow supply chain leaders, Rodney Apple and Mike Ogle chime in with their experience and knowledge, all of which can be used by supply chain leaders to develop and advance their careers.

[00:00:00] Chris Gaffney: Welcome to the Supply Chain Careers Leadership Podcast, and I’m your host, Chris Gaffney, and I’ll be joined by my co-host Michael Ogle and Rodney Apple. We’re excited in this series to talk about a number of key impact areas for leadership and development, for supply chain professionals, students and employees.

We’re gonna talk about how you can work more effectively as an individual to create your own space for development, how you can differentiate in the workforce, how you can chart your own path to grow and develop, and how you can guide your own career. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

[00:00:38] Mike Ogle: This podcast is made possible by S C M Talent Group, the industry leading supply chain executive search firm.

Visit S C M Talent [email protected] to search for or to post supply chain jobs. Visit the supply chain job [email protected]. Are you tired of struggling to optimize your supply chain? Look no further than Profit Point the experts in supply chain network design and technology integration solutions.

Visit profit point.com to learn more. That’s profitpt.com

[00:01:10] Rodney Apple: Welcome back to the Supply Chain Careers podcast. This is the leadership series featuring Chris Gafney. I’m your co-host, Rodney Apple, and we’ve got your other co-host, Mike Ogle. Thanks for joining us today. This is a very exciting topic.

Basically deals with the people management side of leadership, and we’re gonna cover how to become the boss that everyone wants to work for. This is advice for the first time people, leader.

[00:01:37] Mike Ogle: So Chris, how does this episode on first time leadership fit into the categories of the leadership series

at this point?

[00:01:43] Chris Gaffney: Mike, it’s interesting. Before we started recording, we said our alternate title for this was, you’re like the dog who’s caught the bumper after you’ve been chasing the car. So many people view moving from an individual contributor to a people leader as a key milestone in their career. So for me, this episode is pivotal as we continue to pivot towards focusing more of our episodes.

To leadership of others, and we know many of our listeners aspire to lead people. So this one is of interest and we have a lot of young people, leaders in our listener base. For me, the lessons for a first time leader are actually also really good reminders for longtime people, leaders who may need to get back to basics.

So in my mind, this episode really is focused in the area that we call differentiators. First time people. Leaders likely got to their first leadership role because they delivered results. They worked well with others. They were self-directed. They were a differentiator as an individual. And a key to long-term career advancement is the ability to get differential results through others.

So if you can lead a small team well, and people see that you’re gonna get a shot at leading bigger teams and one day a chance to lead a large organization. For me, I recall that experience when I was at Frito-Lay and I got my first opportunity to lead people, I think in my third year of of work, so I might’ve been 25 or 26.

And Frito-Lay loved to give people a lot of responsibility earlier in their careers, and I think it’s really a great testament. My opportunity after being an individual contributor in an office and in a warehouse was to lead 40 truck drivers, and we ran a private fleet that picked up and delivered packaging and seasoning that Frito-Lay used to make all of their chips.

  1. These guys drove two thirds of the US and the plants didn’t run if we didn’t pick up and deliver it. So, you know, I had a fair amount of responsibility. I designed the runs they made each week. I was accountable for service. I was accountable for the cost and budget of that overall network. I was accountable for D O T compliance and performance of the drivers, and it really ranks as one of the best experiences of my career.

I didn’t know much about leading others, particularly when you had to direct people at an hourly level to do things that they didn’t wanna do. And so my first challenge where I’m like, gosh, I wish I had a lot of cheat codes on this, was a guy named Barry and he was one of the drivers, and one weekend he was the extra driver who was on call If somebody else couldn’t go.

We had a guy come up sick a Friday for a, a load that would need to leave Sunday morning as a team, so he would partner with another driver. And that’s not something a lot of drivers enjoy. And many drivers also are not comfortable driving with other drivers. So I had to tell Barry he was gonna take that load.

And I remember sitting at the top of a stairwell and I was telling Barry what I needed him to do. And he was probably in his forties at the time. And amongst his various feedback to me around his displeasure on this was, uh, his suggesting that he might threaten my life if I actually made him do that.

We worked it out. But I wish I had some of the ideas we’re gonna talk about today before I met Barry. Wow. Chris,

[00:05:09] Mike Ogle: I’ll quickly go through some personal history, but not too deep into it. But I do have to go back to some of my first experiences of being led and how that set my expectations for when it was time to do it myself.

My journey into leading is a little different, I think with this odd combination of academic and industry and association experience. And I certainly wish I had those cheat codes that you mentioned that would’ve saved a lot of pain, but I think we grow out of that. You know, the things that don’t kill you, make you stronger, hopefully.

But I had many part-time jobs, whether it was in high school or college, and I worked as a general laborer for a lot of old school bosses. So I had that side. I was also led by professors and was doing much higher level kind of academic work, a totally different type of experience, but I was thrust into teaching a senior level class as a master’s student when a professor got injured playing racquetball.

  1. So they said, Hey Mike, here’s your class. Make it work. Step up and teach the class in the lab and let’s see how that goes. I think that probably led me to an academic career after that. So he was very fortunate to have that opportunity. Uh, so I’ve not just taught, but I’ve directed individuals and teams of grad students on projects, but it’s really a different animal despite some similarities to design and r and d kind of work.

So I’d say on the industry side, my first leadership opportunities were well after I was experienced on both the academic and industry side. So I wasn’t really that young and thrust into that kind of position, but I tended to channel other leaders that I admired. I tried to limit the tendencies of poor leaders that I thought were counterproductive poor behaviors like leading by yelling around threats or even the more dangerous, the leader who doesn’t even lead at all and they just kinda show up now and then.

But I’ve also had some great experiences by people who could be tough, but clearly fair in their expectations. People made you feel like they were wanting to get you up to a higher level of performance. They knew what to ask and when to ask it, and knew when to push and to praise. So for me, it was a lot of mimicking others until I made enough mistakes and had enough successes so that when it was time for me to lead.

I was trying to get people to a point where they could take my job or someone else’s job by moving up themselves.

[00:07:28] Rodney Apple: Okay, I’m going way back to my first job out of college, a big staffing company, and the track is you move up into sales or you move up into larger roles where you’re managing people and like large staffing companies, they have branches in every city.

So I was shipped off from Atlanta to Cincinnati to help open up that branch and was promoted to lead, I think it was the energy division. And so I had three recruiters on our team and had grown up. It was a heavy. Micromanagement environment and I never was really keen on arbitrary numbers. You’ve gotta hit this number of calls every day, things like that.

And um, I don’t know, I think my natural style is more about what we talked about on the last episode about servant leadership and really getting out there with the recruiters, side by side, shoulder to shoulder teaching, trying to get folks that are right outta college, up to speed. And I got lucky. I had two guys that were awesome.

On my team, but also had a person that was very laid back. And if that laid back style doesn’t work in an aggressive sales environment, I didn’t want to have to see him let go from the company. But eventually, you know, sometimes you have to realize this isn’t for everybody and you’re in the wrong job.

Great guy, but just this isn’t the right fit. So that, that was my introduction to management, but I really focused more on being a kind leader. Holding people accountable, but doing it in a style that I wasn’t afraid to get out of the office and sit in the pit, if you will, and recruit and help and do whatever it takes to move the needle forward.

That was my experience. Well, Chris, those

[00:08:59] Mike Ogle: are some of our own personal stories to get started. Where do we start on this discussion about people leadership?

[00:09:05] Chris Gaffney: The first thing to keep in mind as a new leader is don’t do the things that you experienced as an individual contributor that didn’t work for you.

The manager who yells, the manager who sets up reasonable expectations, we could send people to all kinds of training. I. Your own experience will help you in many cases with the don’ts. So I think that’s a great place to start. But one point I wanna make is that first time leadership experiences are not all the same.

So the circumstances really matter. And as we go through the ideas, I think where you land in your first role will shape some of these things. Some may be tried and true. There’s some really tricky situations. If you become the manager of a team that you were part of prior and you’re managing peers, that can be very tricky.

If you’re walking into a team as a manager and you’ve come from another part of the organization and you are brand new to that team, that that has its own challenges. If you are fortunate enough to have been in the space and you’re a subject matter expert and you have that knowledge, you have some advantages and there’s some watch outs in, in leading a team like that.

It’s always tricky if you’ve taken a role as a leader and someone who is now reporting to you was also competing for that job. That’s a very difficult situation to be in. As I mentioned, and Mike mentioned, leading students who are frontline or hourly employees is different than leading knowledge workers.

So they’re all a a bunch there. And nowadays, likely that you may be leading a team that’s either remote or distributed and you’ve gotta have different tactics ’cause you’re not sitting in front of the group all day long. So all of those things I think, factor into some of the advice that we’re gonna offer.

So Chris,

[00:10:53] Rodney Apple: that timeframe, call it the first 30 days or 30 60, 90, what kind of advice do you recommend for that new leader to get off to a good start?

[00:11:03] Chris Gaffney: Absolutely. I think your first day in your first month as a new leader is like a new kid at school or joining the team, making an impression. So how do you make that impression?

So we’re gonna assume that the team is already in place. So really there are three things. That are really critical in that first month. The first one on that list is really making sure you can clarify expectations, and so I think this requires sitting down with the team, answering some key questions so that everyone’s clear what the goal is.

What they feel and hearing from them what is achievable and realistic and where they will need your help and support the most. That’s important because one of the most common pitfalls for a new manager who is walking into an existing team is that they walk right in and they’re not clear on expectations.

So if you can get that clear right away, I think that’s important. Now the flip side of that is you walking in, you have been given that role by someone you work for. So just as important as getting lined up with a new team, you’ve gotta make sure you’re clear with your boss on what those early expectations are.

So that’s kind of number one, is expectations management. I think the second one, back to that servant leadership idea, I. Is to be really available to your team and visible to them. So hands-on from day one I think is important. And in some cases you’re gonna have to prove yourself not only to to the team, but the people who put you in that role that they made the right decision.

I do think it’s going to be that quality time on the physical or virtual floor, so your shoulder to shoulder with the team, they see you in the trenches. I think that goes a long way and it works both ways. When those folks see you around, I. It will be easier for them to approach you and they’ll know that they can approach you and you’ll be open to support them, give them your thoughts and coaching and make sure you’re getting them the resources they need.

So I, I think those two things are really critical. And the third one is not just an advice for the first 30 days, but forever is asking for feedback. And that’s gonna be the basics. How am I doing? It’s also calibrating for the new team. They had a manager and you wanna make sure that they understand. You want to know how they’re doing.

What’s changed since you came in, what hasn’t, what can be done differently or improved upon if people know that you sincerely want their perspective, not only on their own situation, but how the team could perform. I think that’s great and you could do that in different ways. You could do that in. A structured check-in.

You can do that informally, and as I said before, it doesn’t just have to be about how they’re doing on their job, but it’s their perspective on the larger direction of the team. Many times folks have ideas around that and they value being heard. This is the kind of the beginning of building those relationships with those folks, which is going to take time.

Most people aren’t gonna trust you out of the gate. They’re gonna wanna see that. And it also goes without saying at the same time, you’re doing that with your folks, you wanna be calibrating with your manager. I, I recall in those situations, I would probably have a weekly one-on-one with my manager to say, how did week one go?

How did week two go? And I think that’s perfectly logical for that first month.

[00:14:38] Mike Ogle: I. Chris, those are great ways to be able to deal with those first 30 days. I know that was a major challenge when I first stepped into those kinds of situations. So what are some examples of things that you wished you’d known before you met

[00:14:51] Chris Gaffney: Barry?

  1. It’s a great question, and I actually did this exercise probably 15 years into my career when I went to training at the Center for Creative Leadership, and they said, write a letter to your earlier work self and what advice you would give. And I think I actually refer to some Center for Creative Leadership practices through our discussion here, but the one I sent.

Which is actually a common one is don’t worry so much. And so what they say is worrying is pointless, mainly because two things happen. Number one, the thing you’re worried about doesn’t frequently turn out the way you think it would, so it’s unnecessary. If it’s real worrying isn’t gonna fix it, action’s gonna fix it.

So really figuring out that action. So I, I think that’s one that, that would be hot on my list. Many people are really anxious in this first role. That’s not gonna help you convey the confidence you need. That’s not gonna help you act in a way that’s gonna build the groundwork for you as a successful manager.

So I think that’s number one. Others are common, and I think we’re gonna do a whole podcast on getting help, asking for help, but leveraging your boss, somebody made the bet on you to take this role. In most cases, your success is an indicator of their decision making. So taking advantage of your boss in both planning that first month, understanding the lay of the land.

That’s huge. And so you don’t wanna walk in here and say, now I’ve been chosen. I’m all on my own. It’s actually the opposite. I definitely think going hand in hand with that is what I would say is phone a friend. Whether it’s the prior leader, if that leader is still, if that leader’s been promoted and in the organization, you could tap into them others who’ve had similar experiences.

This is where we started building your network, whether you have a mentor in that Frito-Lay example, I had a mentor who was a very senior person who worked down the hall for me, who knew these same drivers, and I could pick his brain about that, and I could have done that better and earlier. But then I think there’s some other basic things.

Proving yourself with these employees is a key thing, and in some cases it’s just helping them, finding opportunities where you can demonstrate that you’re actually investing in their success. It can be very basic things. In the case I had with drivers, we had people who had family situations. They needed help with schedules and you, you could demonstrate real empathy if you could say, we’re gonna find a way for you to be off the road because you’ve gotta deal with something at home.

Those things went a long way. And another one that I think is a big deal, and it’ll come up again, is taking ownership when you come in. It’s classic, classic coach. If the team does well, you want all the credit to go to the team. If things don’t go well, you want the coach to take accountability for it.

When your team sees you taking ownership for the challenging things that happen when you’re leading a team, they understand what that means. You’ve got their back. So taking those opportunities to show that you have their back, that’s a very early benefit. Walking into a a leadership position. I think over communication is critical, and that’s particularly at these roles starting to really work on become a better listener.

You can’t learn anything if you’re not listening, so, but that communication in both direction with an increased balance on listening, I think is huge. I. And then I think the other thing back to our personal productivity podcast is focus on delivery of results and not just being busy and being active.

So you’ve really gotta start making good use of your time. I remember that first job I had to work on developing a really disciplined routine from Monday to Friday because this cycle of pickup and delivery at suppliers and delivery to plants happened like clockwork, and time was precious. So I really had to start getting focused on what has to get done.

This week for us to be successful in getting much better at how I use my time. So I, I think that list, which is a combination of my experience and some external perspective are some good advice for the first time leader. I

[00:18:58] Mike Ogle: wish I had walked in other people’s shoes for a while to better understand the kinds of challenges that they faced and didn’t think that I had to be one of those dictatorial managers in the beginning.

But you learn those things as time goes by. So those are really great points, Chris. And is it fair to say I wish I had a podcast like this

[00:19:15] Chris Gaffney: one? We hope so. We sure hope so, Mike,

[00:19:20] Mike Ogle: during this short break, we recognize that this podcast is made possible by S C M Talent Group, the industry leading supply chain executive search firm.

Visit SCM talent [email protected]. To search for or to post supply chain jobs, visit the supply chain job [email protected]. Are you tired of struggling to optimize your supply chain? Look no further than Profit Point the experts in supply chain, network design and technology integration solutions.

Visit profit point.com to learn more. That’s profit pt.com.

[00:19:58] Rodney Apple: Well, Chris, this is good stuff for coming out of the gate, first time manager, but like everything else, we continue to learn and develop. What are some things that you would layer on top of the advice you’ve already

[00:20:10] Chris Gaffney: provided is you get up out of the blocks and that first month, and then think about how you win in the first year.

There’s some things that we’ve talked about that are on there that I’ll reemphasize, and then there’s some additional ones you, you do have to do the basics well. As I said before, you’ve gotta stick up for your folks. You’ve gotta continually work on those clarity of goals and roles and progress against those.

I think one that became really important for me was setting up management routines. The reality is in most settings, you’ve gotta have some structure meetings or the scourge of corporate America, but lack of meetings is a problem as well. So really had to say what are the right minimal management routines to provide people clarity.

As I got into situations managing professional teams, I found that a very quick Monday morning kickoff. What is critical for this week? Where did people struggle with things that didn’t get done last week, that we need to get help for? How do we set people up to be successful? This week on key outcomes became a simple routine that really worked well for me, and by the same token, We spent effort once a month understanding how we did over the course of the month, so those kind of routines as well as setting up structured one-on-ones.

In many cases I’ve learned later in my life, those as 30 minute meetings, really quick meetings. Are we on track? Do you have areas that need help? And you’ve got a good speed bump on that with folks that became important, whether depending on size of the team, that’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly, but getting that cadence in place.

The same thing with my boss. Not all bosses ask for a one-on-one, but I think having a good structured frequency where you don’t get too far outta whack with your boss is important. Rodney, you mentioned it, the principles of servant leadership, I think as a philosophy are really great medicine for first time leaders to really understand those principles.

If people understand you are willing to do their work, Willing to enable and focused on helping them be successful. That will go a long way. I mentioned communication with a focus on listening. Gotta do that. A couple that I think are really start to be differentiators in this first year are the whole concept of you and the team being known.

If you make a commitment, you will keep it. When people start to understand that that’s the reputation and expectation in your team, good things will happen. They said, this team, if they tell you they’re gonna do something, it’ll get done or they’ll come back to you and renegotiate before the due date. So that I think was a big differentiator for me as a leader.

And then I think with teams they’ve gotta keep an eye on you and your team burning out. The expectations are always increasing and it’s the manager’s job to calibrate when enough is enough. And that’s part of sticking up for your team is when there’s overburden on the team, based on what’s coming in from above or other stakeholders.

And the last one is one that I struggled with early in my career is this idea of not reacting to things. So when things come in, keeping enough space between stimulus and response and I, I took me a long time to learn that. An immediate knee-jerk reaction to something wherever it came from. One of the team members, an internal or external customer, your boss, is not usually the wisest response.

So learning. Can this wait an hour? Can this wait till tomorrow? Became really important for me because in many cases when I knee-jerk, I got that emotional response that really wasn’t the right one, and that became something I had to dig out of. I wanted to make

[00:23:55] Mike Ogle: one point that, you know, when you talked about visibility, visibility and supply chain is, is so important career-wise.

We really need to be mindful of our leadership and employee visibility as well.

[00:24:06] Chris Gaffney: Absolutely. No question about it. We can also

[00:24:09] Mike Ogle: provide a lot of guidance through this podcast, but there’s gonna be some really tough situations and cases where you wished you had a do-over, you know, what are some typical challenging situations and some advice about things to watch out for.


[00:24:23] Chris Gaffney: This is an inevitable reality, right? Even, you know, our leaders here who listen to this podcast and plan perfectly life presents challenges, and as a people leader, there are going to be challenging situations. So I, I’ll give you a couple that I struggle with my entire time as a people leader and we can talk a little bit about those.

The first one is providing performance feedback. It’s so hard. We will have a whole podcast on giving and receiving feedback, but when you’ve got to let someone know, Some aspect of what they’re doing or how they’re doing it is not up to expectation is not delivering results. That’s really difficult. Now, I, I think the learning there is, if you’ve done some of the things we’ve talked about is you’ve established a culture where there’s two way communication.

You’ve had. An ongoing cadence of checking in so that whatever this performance issue is has not festered for a long time. That makes this much easier, right? If you’ve ignored it and said of, gosh, I hope this goes away, and it’s become many months, and the issue’s gone from something small to big. You’re gonna make this much more difficult.

So when you talk about performance feedback, you’re much better off providing small insights and calibrating with someone early on before smoke becomes a big fire. And connecting to some of the work we’ll do next year is that if you’ve got a good boss, And or you’ve got a human resource business partner who’s close to you, you can get some coaching when it becomes more than the garden variety feedback and whether it becomes a repetitive issue.

So getting help in that case is important. Another one that’s really difficult but happens all the time is conflict within a team. It is unfortunately inevitable that there’ll be some dynamics that will exist within the team that will detract from the performance and the cohesion of the team. They can be small things and they could be big things, but this is another one that you’re gonna have to come to grips with very quickly.

If it’s small, somebody’s stealing somebody else’s lunch out of the fridge or whatever, that’s one thing. If it’s a bigger issue in terms of people dealing inappropriately with other people, Then you definitely gotta go get help. So I think this is one that I think you can calibrate for, but my expectation, typically when there were issues within the team, I was probably phone in a friend for coaching when I could.

Because that’s a tricky one that you wanted to try to get right. Both in how you approached it and how you communicated to the larger team about it. One that’s a lot of fun is when you’ve got a cross-functional stakeholder who’s got an issue with the team in terms of the team not meeting their expectations.

That can be tricky politically, but it is something that is going to come to pass. And I think the last one, and I talked to a mentee last week about it, is when there is overburdened within the team and there are resource challenges, and this person I talked to was just finishing a large new IT project.

Like many of those projects, the project was advertised as making the team’s life easier. Now three months after implementation, the team who are wise veterans realizes that the new technology is actually worse than what they had before and it’s gonna make their job more difficult. So that manager’s at a critical time in terms of how to deal with that.

It’s political. The team has real. Honest feedback that they’ve gone through a huge initiative only to find out that their day to J job is harder. And I think preparing for those type of things is critical. And it’s interesting as I think through those, almost all of those are, don’t go it alone. Get some coaching prep for those things.

You’ll be in a better place.

[00:28:10] Mike Ogle: Chris, as we go through these cycles of employer power versus employee power and you step into a new position, how important is it to have more of a steady culture that carries everyone through these phases? Mike,

[00:28:24] Chris Gaffney: my definition of culture is what actions and behaviors are viewed as acceptable.

And I think ideally in any organization, you don’t want radical change in that. And most people, culture is a factor in terms of where they choose to work and where they choose to stay. So unless the culture was really negative and it was the reason why the prior manager left, and your job is to change that culture, If there are good foundations of culture in place, then you wanna try to foster those so that people see constancy of the good things.

And then things that are negatives to get addressed appropriately with a new focus. So those are my thoughts on dealing with challenges. But I did go out to the Center for Creative Leadership and say, what do they say are most common challenges faced by new managers? And we’ve talked about a lot of them, which is good.

Leading former peers is really tricky, and I think that’s something that you wanna respect. The fact that they were peers, respect that relationship. But you also then wanna demonstrate to those folks that you are going to lead them effectively. You’re gonna earn their respect, you’re going to add value to them, and I think you wanna build off of your prior relationship with those peers.

So I think that one’s important. A lot of new managers have things to deal with that they didn’t have to deal with in their prior role. You gotta figure out how to navigate the organization in different ways. If you’re now the leader, that was something the boss had to do. So in addition to dealing with all the individual work, you’ve now gotta figure out how to work across the organization.

You’ve gotta balance workload across the team. You’ve gotta figure out who’s carrying the load and who’s not, who can handle the more complex tasks and do that in a thoughtful way, and have systems in place where you’re balancing that over time. I think that’s critical. You’ve gotta find a way to ultimately motivate these folks if you’re trying to get differential effort out of them.

You’ve gotta figure out a way to understand what makes folks tick and make sure that you’re setting them up, that they can tap into that in their work. Back to providing feedback. You do have to hold folks accountable. If we set expectations and people are over-delivering them, you wanna praise them. But if people are not delivering them, then you’ve gotta get into the place where you let them know that and when it’s small, work with them to understand what’s holding them back.

Get into that coaching mode, demonstrate your commitment to their development. Those are the kind of things that I think start to become a big deal. A couple things that we’ve not talked about that I think are really critical are learning how to delegate. If you are a first time leader, you’ve typically done it all yourself as an individual, and this whole element of getting things done through others is critical in my mind.

The first thing, understanding delegation is understanding the capability and capacity of the team who can do what. What bandwidth do they have? How do you set them up with a clear expectation of what needs to occur? How do you have management systems in place so you can confirm that they’ve delivered to your expectation?

Those are the basics around delegating, and there are gonna be trials and tribulations and pitfalls in there, but that’s critical to becoming a successful leader. And then I think when that really makes a difference for us is the whole idea around building trust. And that’s probably job one for the first year for a leader is.

How do you demonstrate that you will do what you say you do, so that your teammates and the people who work for you and the folks who your customers understand that you’re consistent in your commitments and how you do your work. So the last one that, that we’ve not talked about that I think really merits some discussions and it, it is a real important consideration for people who manage others today is the whole concept of connecting across differences.

You know, first time managers and all managers really have to be able to work effectively with and lead employees who have different opinions, personalities. Background and abilities than they do, which by definition means everybody because we’re all different and we’re all individuals. And how you lead with a focus on equity, diversity, inclusion requires that you can understand other people’s perspectives.

You’ve gotta be able to put yourself in their shoes. You’ve also gotta understand how their differences impact the way they work, and frankly, how your unique background impacts the way you lead. I think being cognizant of that and developing the skills that give you the ability to adapt your behavior based on the ways in which different people work.

Showing sensitivity and compassion when leading teams of people who are different, whether that be all dimensions of difference, whether that be ethnicity, gender, all of those different things. Those are huge because that basic of establishing trust. An element of that trust is the people who work for you that have confidence that they can be themselves.

Bring their whole selves to work. If people can do that, they will give you their best. And I think that’s, in this day and age, that’s most important and most challenging for a lot of first time leaders.

[00:33:42] Rodney Apple: Chris, as always, we appreciate, uh, your advice and consultation on these leadership topics. This is a really big one because I think we all can say we’ve worked with plenty of people who did not embrace these concepts and behaviors and can really make your life miserable as an employee if you have a bad leader.

And that’s how I think a lot of us learn, is you learn what not to do based on how you were led early on in your career. So thanks audience for listening. If you like what you’ve heard, check out s scm talent.com. Under the insights tab, we’ve got a plethora of content that all deals with supply chain talent and career development.

So we’ve got a lot more of this stuff there. And if you like what you heard on this episode, you know someone that could potentially benefit, feel free to forward it. We’d also love a rating on your favorite. Platform, whether it’s Spotify, apple, or something else. We always appreciate the love there. Chris, what’s next on the leadership series agenda?


[00:34:41] Chris Gaffney: Rodney, we talked about it today. We will continue with a topic that is relevant for both leaders and individual contributors. And that is how to have a difficult conversation. And so there, there are a lot of books out there. Crucial conversations, fierce conversations. We’re gonna dig into that space because it’s a really important skill and it’s something that.

Many people really struggle with and need good advice and tools to help them do that well,

[00:35:11] Rodney Apple: looking forward to it, Chris, and thanks again audience for listening. We’ll see you next

[00:35:14] Mike Ogle: time.

This podcast is made possible by S C M Talent Group, the industry leading supply chain executive search firm. Visit SCM talent [email protected] to search for or to post supply chain jobs. Visit the supply chain job [email protected].


Who is Chris Gaffney?

  • Co-Founder, Edge Supply Chain, providing Supply Chain Services to the CPG Industry
  • 25 Years w/ Coca-Cola holding Supply Chain leadership roles:
    • VP of Global Strategic Supply Chain
    • President of Global Supply
    • SVP of Product Supply Systems
    • VP of Logistics for North America