Are you looking for a great boss, or do you want a great leader? 

There’s a difference, and your team can tell. 

Leaders have relationships built on trust rather than solely on hierarchyThey inspire those around them to meet high expectations. Moreover, they give teams the tools they need to meet those expectations.  

But what makes an excellent manufacturing leader? These leaders all have these three traits in common. 

Leaders Are Active Listeners 

You listen to your team, but do you hear them? A great leader does. 

Listening is a skill that requires regular practice, and it isn’t easy when your management team is juggling other responsibilities. 

To be an active listener, leaders need to listen as much as they talkTheir goal for each conversation isn’t to say their piece but to learn something – every time. 

Leaders Believe in Self-Improvement 

A great leader is the change they want to see in the team. If you want a floor full of people who actively want to better themselves and contribute to the company, then it needs to start at the top with leadership. 

Leaderships’ self-improvement isn’t limited to organizational processes or technical skills. It’s also a drive to become a better leader. 

Leaders Are Emotionally Intelligent 

The traditional image of a factory floor team leader is someone who is by the book – who takes no gruff. Today’s best leaders, however, prioritize emotional intelligence as much as competence. 

Being emotionally intelligent doesn’t mean you overshare or encourage others to do so. Often, it means considering someone’s feelings and demonstrating empathy. Neither of these requires agreement, but they do need you to try to understand. 

Leaders use their emotional intelligence to learn when to push and when to pull back. It also helps them identify the right resources – physical or otherwise – to help team members succeed. 

Emotional intelligence builds deeper relationships based on trust, and it allows everyone to work based on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. 

It’s particularly helpful in the toughest situations, like if a leader needs to let someone go. If the relationship is built on trust and the leader knows them well, they can transform a termination from a stressful event into an opportunity. 

Can You Spot a Leader When You See One? 

Anyone can hire a new manager, but it takes skill to spot a true leader. Why? Because leaders work not through a mandate given by years of experience but instead by example: they listen, improve, and make decisions based on both expertise and emotional intelligence. 

Energy Personnel knows the difference between being a boss and a leader. That’s why we present candidates in a three-dimensional format so that you can see if they have what it takes to help your manufacturing plant not just work but thrive.