As part of a special series on The Faces of KION North America, we sat down with members of our leadership team to talk about their thoughts on leadership. During this installment, we feature Bob Menges, Technical Support Training Manager.
What is your position, and in summary, what do you do?
My position at KION North America is Technical Support Training Manager. I work in the Customer Service department and am responsible for managing all Technical (Service) Training for our extensive dealer network, including managing a team of two Technical Training instructors and one Electronic / Distance Learning designer/developer. Our team develops, designs, and implements Instructor-Led Training (classroom/hands-on) and Electronic/Distance Learning (online) training for our dealer service technicians. Our team has developed over 30 standardized ILT courses covering current trucks and trucks that the Customer Service department is still responsible for supporting in the field, as well as over 25 online service courses to date.
My job as the Technical Training Manager also includes coordinating and scheduling technical training for dealer service technicians all over North America, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean and administrating our KION North America Certified Technician program and our new Authorized Dealer Trainer program. My job also entails assisting our dealer partners to develop their technical training strategies
What made you get into this industry?
I’ve been in the technical training business for over 30 years as a Technical Training Instructor, Training Requirements Analyst, and Training Manager. However, my background was in the aviation industry; I’d never been in the Material Handling industry before KION North America. In late 2015, I saw that KION North America was looking for someone to build a technical training department from the ground up. Rarely does someone get a chance to enter a role that does not exist and create a program from the ground up. This potential role was an exciting opportunity for me, so I jumped at the chance to apply for the position and was blessed to be brought onboard.
What are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?
I believe the most important attributes of successful leaders today include not only the ability to manage projects or programs but also the ability to lead the individuals that make up the team. I believe effective leadership first involves understanding that all of us have strengths and weaknesses. Taking the time to get to know each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, treating them with respect and dignity, and then leading each team member according to their strengths and weaknesses is critical to effective leadership.
What advice would you give someone seeking a leadership position in the material handling industry?
My advice to anyone seeking a leadership position is to invest the time and energy in developing your skill set beyond your area of expertise. Take the time and energy to invest in developing skills that might lie outside your area of expertise that would be necessary to make you an effective leader/manager.