Leadership in Supply Chain Management
Leadership is characterized by a person’s traits, qualities, and behavioral features.
Leadership can be described as a process of influencing people in order to achieve a common goal.
Leaders do not manipulate people but rather guide and motivate them based on their objectives, visions, and missions (Mokhtar et al. 256).
Leaders in supply chain management have to be able to develop internal processes and form beneficial networks with the suppliers and customers.
Transformational and transactional leadership
Supply chain leadership is based on transformational and transactional leadership theory (Mokhtar et al. 262).
Transactional leadership refers to a relationship between a leading firm and its supply chain members where each gains benefit for their organization (Mokhtar et al. 262). Suppliers’ performance is regulated by a certain set of rules that the suppliers follow to avoid potential penalties.
Transformational leadership is focused on long-term relationships and the development of the suppliers without strict control (Mokhtar et al. 263). Transformational leadership aims at training the suppliers, so they have a better understanding of the requirements of the leading firm, making it easier to concentrate on the quality of the product.
More attention is paid to the leaders in supply chain management since they are held responsible for environmental sustainability issues that their work may cause (Mokhtar et al. 265).
The leaders have to evaluate, select and govern sustainability practices that their partners would use.
The way leaders guide the work concerning environmental sustainability can be reflected in leadership theories.
Transactional leadership can enforce sustainable environmental practices, whereas transformational leadership involves the partners in the practices by raising awareness towards sustainability.
There is not just one right way to introduce sustainability practices into supply chain management, so the leaders should have different skills to be applied to each situation.
A leader in supply chain management has to know enterprise software applications and analytics software to efficiently run the company (O’Byrne). A crucial part here is understanding how to apply new technologies to outdated procedures to automize them.
A leader has to know the market and be able to predict all the development ways regarding demand, supply, and pricing (O’Byrne). Thinking ahead and strategically acting can help to avoid significant mistakes.
Leaders in supply chain management have to understand the eventual cost of the services without over-servicing some customers and under-servicing others (O’Byrne). Understanding cost-to-serve reflects on profit and helps to reduce losses.
Leaders in supply chain management have to be able to accept and adapt new ideas and changes if they are beneficial.
Flexibility allows people to embrace changes instead of resisting when they do not go according to plan (O’Byrne). Flexibility teaches how to rethink decisions and not make the same mistakes in the future.
An essential skill of a leader is the ability to achieve goals. Leadership in supply chain management requires a high level of personal organization to lead different projects and the ability to negotiate terms of cooperation (O’Byrne).
A leader should enjoy team building and understand how to develop and maintain professional relationships (O’Byrne). From personnel management to personal communication, a leader has to know how to reach an understanding with every person involved in the business.
Special leadership attributes
Leadership attributes for supply chain managers working in non-profit and non-government organizations have distinctive features due to the specifics of the organizations.
NPOs can be more vulnerable to bureaucratic control (33), but their employees show more “affective commitment” towards the organizations (Peng et al. 47). Supply chain managers in NPOs should have a deeper knowledge of the legal system to avoid legislation problems and do the paperwork effectively.
NGOs are more focused on finding and maintaining funding and relying on volunteers’ work (Rogers et al. 2). Supply chain managers in NGOs have to demonstrate accountability for the funders, which requires an understanding of accountancy and the ability to persuade.
The managers in both NPO and NGO should be honest when providing the employees with information regarding the results of their work so they can see its benefits and have constant motivation.
Mokhtar, Ahmad Rais Mohamad, et al. “Supply Chain Leadership: A Systematic Literature Review and a Research Agenda.” International Journal of Production Economics, vol. 216, 2019, pp. 255-273.
O’Byrne, Rob. “7 Key Supply Chain Leaders’ Skills and Why You Need Them.” Logistics Bureau. 2020. Web.
Peng, Shuyang, et al. “The Influence of Transformational Leadership on Employees’ Affective Organizational Commitment in Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Moderated Mediation Model.” Public Personnel Management, vol. 49, no. 1, 2020, pp. 29-56.
Rogers, Alison, et al. “Evaluation Literacy: Perspectives of Internal Evaluators in Non-Government Organizations.” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, vol. 34, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1-20. Web.