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Leading with Humility: The Key to Unlocking Manufacturing Efficiency and Success

Manufacturing warehouse team meeting with Operational Excellence consulting team member.

In the competitive world of manufacturing, it’s no secret that business efficiency is the key to ongoing success. As a business efficiency consultant, we have worked with many manufacturing companies and have seen the impact that humble leadership has firsthand. Humble leadership positively impacts a company’s culture, growth, and profitability. Successful projects depend on effective leadership and change management.  

At espi, we work on Operational Excellence consulting and Information Excellence initiatives that involve strengthening what has worked in the past and boldly paving the way for innovative ways to conduct business. In this blog, we explore the transformative concept of humble leadership and why it’s so important for manufacturers to implement it in their day-to-day operations. Read on to learn how leading with humility transforms manufacturing businesses for the better.  

What is the Power of Humble Leadership? 

Humble leadership is a leadership style that combines the most effective strategies of servant leadership and authentic leadership. At its core, to lead with humility is to let go of the notion that the boss has all the answers and embrace the power of feedback. While someone leading with humility can – and does – make key decisions, these leaders actively seek the knowledge and wisdom of others. By asking questions and sincerely listening to the answers, they gain insight and empower team members to take ownership of their work. 

The power of humble leadership lies in its ability to foster a positive work environment and drive business results. In companies led by humble leaders, innovation and operational excellence flourish. This is because humble leadership creates collaborative environments where team members don’t fear failure or non-constructive criticism. This allows team members to feel a sense of ownership over their work and dedicate themselves fully to the company’s goals. These environments also help team members build strong cross-functional relationships. These powerful relationships lead to more effective problem-solving and decision-making.  

Humble leadership is essenstial for achieving business objectives and maintaining competitive advantage. By learning how to communicate effectively, establish trust, and make data-based decisions, leaders create a culture of continuous improvement. This culture of continuous improvement will ultimately drive excellent business results. 

Why is Humble Leadership Important? 

Humble leadership has always been a key component of success in manufacturing, but more C-Suite level executives are adopting this strategy than ever before. Across the globe and in our own service area of the Northeast United States, countless leaders are honing their humble leadership skill sets.  

From floor leads and supervisors to C-suite level executives, leaders that adopt this proven leadership style recognize the passion and hard work of their team and want to empower their team further. Through leadership development and practice, these decision-makers create workplace cultures that promote trust, adapt well to change, and benefit their bottom line.  

Examples of Humble Leadership in Manufacturing 

Shot of two warehouse workers standing on stairs using a digital tablet and looking at paperwork

When most people picture themselves as a successful business leader, they imagine themselves as courageous, charismatic visionaries with dominant or transformational leadership styles. Still, several research studies have concluded that humble leadership is more effective. In a survey of 105 computer software and hardware firms published in the Journal of Management, CEOs with humble leadership styles led higher-achieving teams. Similarly, those working for CEOs with humble leadership styles are more engaged in their work

Many leaders in the manufacturing industry have adopted humble leadership practices. As a business consulting firm based in the Northeast United States, we have had the pleasure of demonstrating this leadership approach and seeing it effectively implemented by our own clients. Among these clients are manufacturers of industrial products, food products, CPG specialty materials, and medical devices.  

As business consultants, using humble leadership approaches allowed us to pull key information from the team that improved project ROI. While working with manufacturing clients, humble leadership is instrumental in every initiative. Whether our team of experts works with a client to improve productivity, implement new sales and operations processes, digitally transform their warehouse operations, or implement an ERP system, humble leadership is key. These customers focused their energy not just on process and technology, but also on people. Focusing on their staff delivered greater value in these projects because their staff engaged in the change process. In all cases where our clients embraced humble leadership, greater employee engagement led to higher value creation on our initiatives.  

How to Implement a Humble Leadership Strategy  

Manufacturing leaders who want to implement a successful humble leadership strategy should take a deliberate and consistent approach. Developing a mindset of humility is a critical first step. This mindset helps to establish an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. It’s important to note that developing this mindset is a continuous process.  

With the right mindset, you can continue implementing this leadership strategy by creating spaces for open communications. This fosters a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration. Humble leaders should actively listen to feedback, take suggestions seriously, and demonstrate the behavior they want to see in their team.  

Empowering team members to take ownership of their work is also crucial, as it puts the needs of the team and the company first. Celebrating successes and learning from failures helps build morale and enables continuous improvement. Remember that your team works hard, and they have a passion for your business. By empowering them to make decisions, you allow them the opportunity to innovate.  

By following these steps, leaders can create a culture of respect and collaboration that drives success for the company. With the help of a business coaching service or productivity consultant, manufacturing leaders can see these skills firsthand, further develop their own skills, and lead with humility.   

How Business Consultants Deliver Value to Your Projects 

As a business consulting firm that specializes in helping manufacturing companies, espi understands the complexities of your business. That’s why we’ve put processes and people at the heart of our Operational Excellence consulting and Information Excellence initiatives. Our goal is to deliver self-sustaining processes that team members own and continuously improve upon. 

Our expertise in transforming business processes requires strong leadership on our initiatives. We integrate the change management components throughout the project. We build the skills and mindset of all team members to derive value. By prioritizing the industry-specific challenges your team faces, our experienced business consultants can help you on your journey to improve your business.  Contact us today to learn how our approach to humble leadership helps us deliver high ROI on your projects.