“Industry 4.0” is transforming the manufacturing industries in all possible ways pushing manufacturing leaders to do everything they can to hone their soft and technical skills and make peace with the intricate network of technologies for organizational success. In every step that the manufacturing industry is taking to move quickly towards strengthening the economy and transforming the industry, the participation and contribution of the co-workers are crucial and retaining the talented ones is the main priority. Organizations trying to transform their performance would first have to focus on transforming their organizational culture and by that, it means the leaders of the organization must change the way they lead.
In the scurry of adopting new technologies and edifying workers with advanced manufacturing techniques, most leaders fail to count the importance of soft skills especially when it is critical for ushering in the awaiting era of advanced manufacturing. This is where transformational leadership comes into action. Transitioning is not easy but important! leaders must know what they need to do differently and why changing their behaviour is important for both organizational successes as well as their own. For the last few decades, transformational leadership has been one of the most critically examined topics among researchers. The differences between transformational leadership and other traditional leadership methods have kept the researchers hooked on this topic. The interest and curiosity among the researchers and scholars to research further about transformational leadership behaviour are due to its influence on the performance of the firm. In fact, in many organizations, leadership alone is the central factor that helps the organization in building its competitive advantage. However, before getting into any further details, let’s first understand what transformational leadership is and then focus on how it influences the manufacturing industry.
What is Transformational Leadership?
A transformational leader is a person who believes in creating a vision to add value and meaning to both organizational as well as personal growth of the employees. According to the theory of transformational leadership, effective leaders transform their way of leading by adjusting their leadership style and behaviour as per the given situation to meet its dynamic demand. As against any other leadership style, transformational leadership is more effective as it empowers the employees to uphold their individuality and collaborate as a team with a strong commitment and prioritize their focus on service, quality, profitability, and high returns. This helps the transformational leaders in improving the organization’s potential to innovate and show progress in its marketing performance. The activities and decisions of transformational leaders are the focal points of creativity as they not only offer organizational growth but also help in individual development.
Impact of Transformational Leadership on the Manufacturing Industry
Just like any other industry, the manufacturing industry is also exposed to a variety of short and long-term challenges. These challenges get further aggravated in organizations with poor leadership and management control. The influence of transformational leadership on the performance of the manufacturing industry has been extremely positive and effective. It exhibits the potential of the manufacturing industry to innovate. Since employees are considered one of the most important assets in the manufacturing industry, retaining skilled and talented employees who can be loyal to the company is always a challenge for the industry. Considering the fact that skilled and talented employees help the manufacturing industry in increasing its profits and revenues, transformational leadership uses employee engagement strategies to meet organizational goals while keeping the employees motivated and satisfied.
The increase in globalization has increased problems and challenges for the manufacturing industry that needs to be addressed. For example, inventory management is one of the challenges that manufacturing industries face due to expanded globalization. The pressure to meet the needs of diverse customers from around the world, keep up with the internal and external changes, manage data, maintain information security of the clients and the employees, track & keep a record of the products and services can be extremely gruelling. At the same time, motivating the employees, implementing employee engagement strategies, developing their skills and enhancing their knowledge to meet organizational needs is an important and big task for manufacturing leaders. Practising transformational leadership will allow the leaders to maintain a balance between organizational performance and retaining talents through employee engagement strategies. A transformational leader establishes a vision, creates achievable goals and challenges for the employees, and boosts confidence and optimism in the employees emphasizing team spirit and collaboration that helps the employees in performing their best even under work pressures.
Attracting skilled and experienced employees to improve the sales and revenue of the company is another major challenge that the manufacturing industry faces. The role played by transformational leadership in improving the performance of the employees is pivotal to long-term organizational growth and success. Now since the digital age is taking over the traditional ways in which the manufacturing industry used to work, organizations are introducing new technologies such as Automation, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Robotics, Augmented and Virtual Reality, cloud and edge computing in their organization and the strategic ways to leverage these technologies. However, the implementation of advanced technologies alone without proper employee training can be fruitless. A transformational leader minimizes the gap between the implementation of advanced technologies and the way it is used to obtain their full advantage. Transformational leaders do it by focusing on optimising the skills and talents of each employee, highlighting their uniqueness and using it as a strength, providing them effective training, and developing their skills. Transformational leaders build trust and honesty with their employees to gain their loyalty and commitment which acts as a key motivator in improving the performance of the employees. With competition at its peak, more and more organizations are now beginning to appreciate the importance and influence of transformational leadership on the growth and transformation of the manufacturing industry.