Jose Salinas is a line leader at MPE, a contract manufacturer, but soon he’ll be a second-shift supervisor.
In the meantime, he’s doing what he can to gain more knowledge and become a better leader. Since late February, he’s been participating in a supervisory workshop.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned here that I won’t forget is leadership is influence,” Salinas said. “I had never heard that term before, and it definitely put a different perspective in my mind.”
The supervisory workshop was hosted by the Granville Business Improvement District in partnership with the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Program, part of a national network that helps small and midsize manufacturers. The workshop is part of the business improvement district’s mission to grow Granville.
“We have a huge manufacturing base in our BID,” Mary Hoehne, the executive director of the Granville BID, said. “Because we’re so manufacturing driven, I try to bring programming directly for the manufacturers, because the manufacturers are our heart and soul.”
According to Hoehne, one of the main reasons people quit their jobs is because of their supervisors. If supervisors are trained, they can better support employees at entry-level positions, she said. They are more likely to make more money and stay with their current company, she added.
“I call this incumbent workforce training,” Hoehne said. “And the purpose of it is to create jobs and to create opportunity.”
The workshop was eight weeks and consisted of four-hour sessions. This year, the class was taught by Ed Egan of Double E Workplace Solutions. The lessons varied, but the goal is to teach participants how to be better leaders through collaboration, communication and camaraderie by offering different perspectives and working together.
‘It puts you in different shoes’
Matt Evans is a supervisor at Athea Laboratories, where he holds a team huddle every morning at the firm that makes private-label chemicals. The workshop has taught him how to take different approaches to the huddles to make them more engaging.
One thing he’s started doing is sharing the daily reports with his team. The team compares slow days to busy ones and together they work on finding different solutions.
Egan takes a hands-on approach to the class by getting the class involved in various activities. It’s not all just PowerPoint presentations, Chris Marquardt of Western Building Products, said.
During the first week, the class played Rock Paper Scissors, and in week six, they made a straw tower. Another time, they had to lower a helium stick to the ground – the stick tends to “float up” due to the pressure of everyone’s fingers underneath it and the team must work together to lower it successfully.
Sometimes they’re silly activities, Marquardt said, but they give the class a chance to step out of the supervisor mindset, gain a different perspective and learn from each other.
“It puts you in different shoes” Salinas said. “If you’ve been in a supervisor position for quite some time, maybe sometimes you tend to forget about the different mindsets around the place. Being here, it puts you in a regular employee situation. It takes you out of that supervisory mindset so you can understand how other employees might see things.”
Tom Chirafisi, who also works for Western Building Products, implemented the Rock Paper Scissors exercise during his team huddle after seeing how successful it was during the workshop.
“For that two minutes, three minutes, whatever it was, the same approach happened at work,” he said. “Everyone was smiling; everyone was engaged; everyone was paying attention.”
The exercise demonstrated that work does not always have to be serious.
“At the end of the day, all we’re doing is making doors,” Chirafisi said. “We’re producing work together and the focus was ‘Yes, we can be serious’ but at the same time we can have that fun and joy.”
For more information
For more information on current or future workshops visit the Granville BID website or Facebook page. Manufacturers can also email Mary Hoehne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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