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I have always thought that good buyers transition into good managers and finally good leaders. What characteristics do good buyers have that make them good leaders? Here are a few:
- They ask good questions. “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers” is a quote attributed to Voltaire. A good buyer is always seeking to increase their knowledge and understanding of what they buy, why they buy it, who they buy it from and other parties’ interests by asking good questions. As a result, they learn and become more respected.
- They are always learning. Buyers are constantly learning new commodities, new purchasing techniques & new production processes. They carry this ability and learn through their career whether or not they stay in purchasing or move to other functions.
- They are good with numbers. Most buyers have ability to analyze data whether it be cost, spend or quality. The ones that are really good can turn the data into information that can be effective in communication and help drive results.
- They develop a strategy. If there is not a vision coming from above, good buyers ask the right questions to understand where the company is going, then develop strategies so that the commodities they buy support the vision.
- They communicate. Once a strategy is developed, they ensure that all parties who need to understand the strategy (the supply base and internal organization) recognize it, and also understand what their role in the strategy is. They consistently communicate key messages and ask questions to be certain they’re understood.
- They measure. Good leaders understand how to set up key metrics to measure their organizations’ progress towards a goal. Good buyers learn how to measure whether the supply base is moving in the right direction for many areas including pricing, quality and delivery.
- They praise. Good buyers need to work effectively with suppliers and within their companies to deliver results. They offer praise to those who are succeeding and advice/assistance to those who are not.
- They’re rewarding. They reward those who continue to experience success.
That is my top eight list of things that good buyers do that helps them develop in to good leaders. Did I miss any?