A Visit with Phillip – Stepping into Lead & Supervisor Positions


WAOC is on the road this week in Illinois, I’m Marty, and we’re recording this week’s Episode of Warehouse and Operations as a Career in Chicago.  I’m in town visiting a couple of facilities and of course couldn’t come through The Windy City without reaching out to our WAOC Tech & Facilities guy Phillip. Thanks for stopping by the Hotel Phillip, we got to get these episodes in as we can, how have you been Sir?

We’d like to thank you for sitting down with us for a bit today, it’s been too long since you’ve been on the show!

You must be glad to be home, last time we spoke I think you’d been up in Pennsylvania for about a month on a facility rollout?

We’ll we probably ought to get into today’s show but first I’d like to thank all our Listeners out there.  We crossed that 10,000 downloads or streams threshold this week, 10,000 listens to the WAOC Podcast.  I’d like to thank each of you for all the shares, email’s and follows & tweets over the last several months! We have a lot of fun researching the topics you’ve sent in and looking up or gathering answers for the questions asked each week.  I hope we’ve gotten a little easier to listen too, we’re trying to learn as we go and I thank you for your patience! I hope we’re bringing some sort of value to your positions and goals and aiding in the pursuit of your Careers!

Phillip, we were talking a little earlier today about Leads and Supervisors coming up from the floor and how challenging it is for them these days.  You have a pretty interesting story yourself, you’ve had a pretty busy 5 years and accepted several of those challenges.  When I first met you you we’re Lumping or Unloading freight I believe and have held several positions since then.  Would you mind sharing a bit of your story with our group Sir?

As you know I work with several young Leads and Supervisors, it’s so interesting to witness their growth in Leadership and the different ways they each handle the challenges from their peers.  I believe their first big challenge is usually how to go from being a friend, a co-worker on the floor to directing and counseling the very workers they use to hang out with.  I mean we know all their work ethics and how they may or may not be exactly following the rules and procedures!

On my flight out here I ran across an article on twitter, check out @budtoboss, they have some great articles on leading and supervising.  The article I read was 5 Things a Smart Manager Does to Decrease Change Resistance, and I’ll add that link to the show notes on our website so you can check it out. http://www.budtoboss.com/management/5-things-a-smart-manager-does-to-decrease-change-resistence/

WAOC isn’t affiliated with them in any way, I think you may find them interesting though, so I wanted to share a few excerpts with you..  The 5 points brought up were:

  1. Sell more than you tell

Understand that “telling” someone what’s going to happen is very different from “selling” them on the idea.  I myself always try and share a little on Why we’re doing something, maybe share the goal if you will instead of just telling.

  1. Help people tune-in to WII-FM

Be prepared to answer the question on every employee’s mind:  “What’s in it for me?” This sounds difficult but again I’ve found by sharing a little, maybe just taking a little extra time explaining something that it’s easier to give an associate that answer.

  1. Work through the “head grapes”

Every organization has a grapevine—an unofficial communication channel that often moves faster than official ones. You might call the people who other people listen to, those who influence the grapevine, the “head grapes.”  It’s so important to know your associates and respect each one of them, I try to know each one of my employees.


  1. Break the change into “bite-sized” pieces

While you can’t wait forever for people to get onboard, understand that people need both information and time to accept a change. Break big changes into small pieces that people are willing to accept more quickly.  I think this is really important.  I myself understand changes better when I’m not dealing with 20 components of change to reach the ultimate goal!

  1. Build positive momentum

By breaking big changes into bite-sized pieces, you create positive momentum.  I think it helps reduces the chance of failure too, even if only one piece or component has to be revisited we’ve broken that forward momentum right?

I found these interesting, definitely gave me somethings to think about.  If your new to leadership roles or contemplating that next step, I’d follow them on twitter and check out some of their thoughts.

How’d you handle it Phillip, I remember you were promoted from the crew, right?

I was lucky with my first step into leadership and lead task, I was transferred from the night shift onto the day shift, from order selecting into the warehouse side of inventory control.  I knew the crew but hadn’t been working with them every day so I think my transition was a little easier.  However I did find that the men I’d worked with every night did treat me a little differently for a while, I associated it with me moving to days but now looking back I’m sure it had more to do with my step into the leadership role!

So Phillip from lead you moved into the supervisor role, along with the normal challenges you were kind of at arm’s length from your management team, actually kind of your companies representative in that state.  How’d you handle that, did it present any additional challenges for you?

And now you’re a Regional Facility Manager with that same company & oversee their Technology and time keeping systems.  And as if that didn’t keep you busy your responsible for houses in 2 states, a total of 3 houses AND work with about 9 others and their Sup’s with their Technology concerns.  Keep you busy, how do you handle all that?

Well Phillip, I guess we’d both better get back to it Sir, I want to thank you for taking a few minutes with our WAOC group again and let’s not let it take so long before your next visit!

And a big thanks to all our listeners this week, we really appreciate your time as well and I hope we bring you something of value each week!  Please remember WAOC is on Twitter and Facebook as @whseandops and our website can be found at warehouseandoperationsasacareer.com where you can always find our show notes and any research material and links we may mention each week!

All of our jobs are tough, our hours can be long and the tasks we’re around can present dangers, let’s remember its all of our jobs to follow our Safety procedures, teach those procedures to others and its always a great thing to participate in our Safety meetings and contribute where we can.

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