The process of being organized in a leadership position requires a special skill set combined with detailed knowledge. Like a business manager, an organizational warehouse leader must prioritize work for employees, oversee hazardous operations, and be ready to make, accept, and implement suggestions to maximize the safety of working in a warehouse. In other words, a warehouse manager must lead, supervise, and inspire.

Inventory management is a large part of the job; knowing how to use inventory software, such as QuickBooks Inventory and Fishbowl Inventory, is becoming a mandatory part of warehouse management.

These four hacks will definitely help you better your organizational leadership skills and lead to warehouse expert status:

Understanding the system.

Not everyone understands the concept of organizational leadership. The job is more about organizing groups for maximum efficiency than about assisting individual staff members. The big picture is what the organizational leader always keeps in his or her head; always keeping in mind the consistency and stability of each group’s work performance. This involves working with a hierarchy that will give specific responsibilities to specific workers — whether it’s in a warehouse, business setting, or the community at large. A good organizational leader learns how to delegate so that others can also learn how to become leaders by assuming bigger responsibilities and greater challenges as they grow into the position.

Know your warehouse like the back of your hand.

Obviously, having an intimate knowledge of every part of your warehouse is an integral requirement for warehouse leadership. Effective leaders do not second guess their subordinates because they don’t have the detailed knowledge themselves. While true leadership demands plenty of interaction with outside companies and warehouse, your first priority is always to know what goes on in your own warehouse, where it happens, and who’s doing it.

Become organizationally literate.

On the job and in-house training are good stepping stones to leadership effectiveness, but they may not always be enough for the demands of a challenging leadership position. Consider taking classes, entering a program that provides organizational leadership degrees or certificates. There are plenty of online courses available, some with tuition and some for free. Also your local college system may offer a path to an organizational development degree through part-time classes. However you pursue it, further education in leadership skills, theories, and technologies can only help your career as an organizational leader.

Develop a flexible leadership style.

Combining leadership styles gives you the flexibility to keep your staff at peak performance. Sometimes you may have to play the autocrat and make an immediate decision without input from anyone else. Other times you may want to play the democrat, building a consensus with your staff on what works best in your particular warehouse situation. And sometimes it’s best to practice a bit of laissez-faire; to let your workers have their own head with certain duties, projects and responsibilities.

Good organizational leadership in any warehouse is not a matter of accident or chance. And not everyone is cut out to master the whole detailed process of warehouse management. Especially in today’s larger and more complex warehouses. But if you’re in that position, or want to be in that position, make sure you have a list like the one above that clearly defines your goals and points the way to better organizational leadership skills.

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We would love to see what setup you have and talk through solutions we have found to be helpful for other warehouse leaders.

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