Jul 25, 2014
Effective leadership impacts employee productivity, workplace efficiencies, and morale which ultimately impacts results. . .
The cost of ineffective front-line leadership is difficult to measure; however, most senior leaders agree the effect can significantly impact employee productivity, workplace efficiencies, turnover, and customer relations, which ultimately impacts results. This is particularly evident in diesel mechanic shops where effective communication, motivation, morale-building, and change management skills are crucial to keep productivity high and rigs on the road.
Diesel shop owners and their employees throughout northeast Wisconsin shared this concern with Dan Poeschel, Diesel Technology instructor at Fox Valley Technical College. With the expertise of Judy Ruhl of the FVTC Management Development department, an industry-tailored Shop Managers’ Supervision Series was soon created with local diesel shop input. Quality Truck of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was an inaugural participant in the Shop Managers’ Series.
"Our shop managers often work their way up through the ranks with minimal management training," notes Joyce Kelch, manager of Human Resources for Quality Truck. "We sent four participants to the initial Shop Managers’ Series and found employees immediately applied new skills, improved employee communication, and were more motivated." As a result, Quality Truck requested that two customized series be delivered on-site for additional 24 front-line shop managers. The training was also offered as a seminar series for diesel shop managers from throughout northeastern Wisconsin.
Judy Ruhl toured the Quality Truck facilities, met with their general managers and owner, and identified customizations to meet the unique needs of their foremen, department managers, office managers, and future leaders. She learned diesel shop managers face unique challenges as they balance the needs of customers and manage the work of employees. Front-line and senior managers continue to observe more effective supervision and management practices as a result of the 18-hour series.
"A shop with positive morale also helps with retention of skilled employees who have specialized mechanical skills that are difficult to replace," stated Ken Balda, owner of Quality Truck. "Our organization also benefitted from improved communication between shops, departments, and shifts."
When asked why Quality Truck made the training investment in their managers, Balda and Kelch both agreed the Shop Managers’ Supervision Series provided the fundamental knowledge and skills for shop leadership to engage employees and improve organizational communication.
Article transcribed from interview on WHBY.