3 Ways Supervisors Can Effectively Lead Their Manufacturing Teams

The Reserves Network


The 3.8 percent employment rate in the manufacturing industry is lower than the national average of 4.1 percent, but this still translated to an increase of 25,000 jobs (a total of 196,000 jobs) in 2017. That means there are thousands of openings awaiting workers in this sector.

While this is always good news for employees, it can also lead to lower retention rates for employers, with workers more likely to seek better opportunities elsewhere. Firms must anticipate the many factors that lure manufacturing workers out the door by giving their staff enough reason to stay.

You’ll often hear the phrase, “People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.” And true enough, one Gallup poll found that 50 percent of employees who leave cite their manager as the reason. So, let’s start there. One way to prevent turnover might be to train your supervisors to build strong relationships with employees, creating a harmonious and productive work environment.

Listed below are a few ways to do just that.


  1. Provide Feedback

 Today’s workers hate being left in the dark. They don’t appreciate being told to do something without getting any feedback on whether what they’re doing is even right or wrong.

Unfortunately, scheduled feedback isn’t occurring in many manufacturing firms. Feedback doesn’t have to be stuffy and formal. If anything, it should be constant, quick, and always constructive. Most of all, the process of providing and receiving feedback should be participatory.

Shift supervisor feedback from “I think this is what you should have done,” to “What do you think we can increase production?”


  1. Let Workers Know Their Progress

Supervisors should also let employees know their progress in relation to what’s being expected of them. It doesn’t have to be complicated;  saying something as simple as, “Thanks for the hard work today. You played an important role in our progress!” goes a long way toward keeping your people motivated. Do one better and connect this feedback to goals you and the employee in question had already set beforehand.


  1. Nurture an Environment of Transparency

Employees in the manufacturing industry are less likely to quit if they feel empowered by their supervisors. Such leaders share information, listen to employees, delegate responsibilities, and hold everyone—including themselves—accountable for their actions.

Transparency is the answer to these issues. Supervisors need to ask their team members for feedback and ideas while simultaneously letting them know that they have to make tough calls that look at the bigger picture.

For more workforce management guides and insights, be sure to follow this blog. If you need coaching on how to handle your manufacturing teams, let the staffing services experts of The Reserves Network help you. Call our offices to learn more about our recruitment solutions.


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