Forklift Driving Is a Good Skill to Know for Leaders

Photo courtesy of New Zealand Defence Force via Wikimedia Commons

There currently is a high demand for forklift operators. With a strong economy and the meteoric rise of online retailing in the past decade, more warehouses and distribution centers are being built right now than just about any other time in history.

Retail operations, construction companies, transportation and logistics firms, and any other business that deals with physical products will always have a need for forklifts. So skilled forklift operators are always going to be in demand.

But knowing how to drive a forklift isn’t just a skill you need to ensure future employment. It also is useful knowledge that can make anybody in a leadership position more valuable and marketable.

Knowledge Is Power

When it comes down to it, driving a forklift isn’t all that different than driving a car. Both vehicles have gas pedals, steering wheels, horns, and other similar features. But forklift driving requires more skill than driving a car or truck. Operators need to know how to lift and move loads safely, how to raise and lower their forks accurately, and how to move their vehicles through crowded warehouses, docks, and other spaces without putting people or property in danger.

You don’t need a driver’s license to drive a forklift. But you do need to have forklift training, including a practical demonstration of driving skills as well as a written knowledge test. Plus, training needs to be certified and documentation of that training needs to be permanently stored.

Once you know how to drive a forklift, however, you can plug that same knowledge into practically any workplace. That’s known as a transferrable skill and it makes you more valuable as a potential new hire. But it also makes you worth more as a supervisor or manager.

Leadership Value

Knowing how to drive a forklift doesn’t just make you more hirable. It also can make you a better leader.

Supervisors and managers don’t usually have to jump into the forklift cab and take over. But it’s good to know that they can. Demonstrating your ability to drive a forklift safely and skillfully can improve your reputation as a versatile leader who takes a hands-on approach to operations. You can earn both the respect and admiration of your direct report employees while also serving as a backup forklift driver should the need arise.

Anybody who has forklift operators working for them should know how to drive a forklift. It can aid in understanding the demands facing the people who work under you as well as building trust between employees and management.

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