What Makes a Good Leader in Metal Fabrication?

As Published in The Fabricator, January 2019 | Vol. 49 No. 1

By Tim Heston

A welder fresh out of school arrives at his first job. He’s eager to learn more, and the company even provides additional training. Life’s looking good. But a few months into the job the welder notices something: The welder next to him really isn’t that productive. He just seems to be mailing it in, clocking in and out, counting the years until he can retire.

The young welder really doesn’t know where to turn. He’s a rookie, an eager one, but a rookie all the same. It doesn’t seem fair. His older colleague is probably paid more, thanks to his years of experience, but he’s just not very productive. All too often the rookie welder lifts his helmet and glances over to see an empty welding booth. The veteran welder seems to be doing just enough to keep his job, but that’s about it. Frustrated, the young welder moves on to another employer.

This story has plenty of variants. The just-mail-it-in co-worker needn’t be older. It could be someone of any age, in any metal fabrication profession, or in any profession period. And the problem may not be about work ethic; the co-worker may be unhelpful, resistant to any change, or just plain difficult. Regardless, the common theme is that poor workplace behavior—be it a poor work ethic or anything else—goes unnoticed, lost in a big bureaucracy focused on production targets and data, not people. So life goes on, and instead of being an engaging meritocracy, the workplace is awash with mediocrity and apathy.

Jacob Wilson, the president and CEO of Morrison Industries, has done just about everything to avoid this.

…. To keep reading, check out the full article on The Fabricator’s website at https://www.thefabricator.com/article/shopmanagement/what-makes-a-good-leader-in-metal-fabrication-