At the heart of every championship sports team is a supremely focused leader who maximizes team members’ talent. There are numerous examples of high performing athletes who fail to realize their potential until they get in touch with the right leadership – think Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson, or John Elway and Mike Shanahan. These sportsmen had the talent all along – they just needed someone to push them (and their teams) to new levels. The same holds true for manufacturing project teams. Team members not only need the capability to execute their assignments but a leader to drive the project and help them achieve the stated goal.
If you’re an engineer or manufacturing manager by trade and you find yourself playing the role of a project manager at your manufacturing site, you’re not alone. You were most likely put in charge of the project because of your deep technical knowledge of the project’s scope and have a project team consisting of individuals from a variety of departments with varying skills. If this is the case, first ask yourself if it’s possible to utilize a dedicated project manager with general knowledge of manufacturing to lead the cross-functional team. If the answer is no, you must take it upon yourself to lead your team like a coach seeking a championship. Here are a few tips for managing your stakeholders: