Short Takes: Leading Role

OK, you’re no Tom Cruise in the charisma department, but you run one heck of an efficient operation. Trouble is, it’s becoming harder and harder to ferret out more people like you. Where have all the leaders gone? To find out, the Warehousing Education and Research Council recently conducted phone surveys of 14 companies with DC or warehousing operations. The consensus was that despite the soft economy, finding managers with the right mix of technical, managerial, and interpersonal skills, and finding them fast, is well-nigh impossible.

Of course, today’s firms ask for a lot more than did those of yore. They want top-notch technological savvy, analytical abilities, financial understanding, commitment to customers, tactical vision, flexibility, enthusiasm — the list goes on and on. Plus, they want things not considered essential even a couple of years ago, such as an additional language (one company says that it might even make Spanish a requirement), greater management skills, and knowledge of specific operational functions such as freight management. With worthy leaders ostensibly in hiding, the companies in the survey have had no choice but to fall back on a slew of employee development tactics, ranging from training programs to formal career evaluations to e-learning workshops, supplemented by frequent meetings with supervisors, role plays, and courses in leadership.

For more information, contact WERC at 1100 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 170, Oak Brook, IL 60523-4413; phone: (630) 990-0001; fax: (630) 990-0256; e-mail: wercoffice@werc.org.

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