Industrial plant management is a complex task that requires one to be very flexible and an effective multi-tasker. Plants nowadays are very complicated in their setup. There is of course a human component to production, but the involvement of machines, robots and computers make the plant a multi-entity mosaic of many smaller parts that an industrial plant manager needs to think about at all times.
During the earlier years of the industrial revolution, managers were more authoritative and mainly dealt with the business of dishing out instructions. Nowadays though, the people on the ground become more empowered, and the system allows them to be more flexible and free as long as they stick to company guidelines. The manager now is relegated to being the person who juggles the difficult tasks of having a finger in every pot and an eye on every detail.
The greatest skill that a manager can have is leadership. These skills can range through a broad range of expertise, but the best leaders are the ones who bring the best out of the members of their team through the use of many leadership styles. While some would use their stature and position to intimidate co-workers into being more focused, the best leaders are those who actually try to synergize the efforts of the team to ensure that all efforts are going towards a particular goal.
Delegation is also one of the skills of a great manager. A leader has to know the strengths and weaknesses of each member; and through analysis and judgment of the situation, he or she has to learn how to play to the abilities of each person to make sure that each individual's potential is realized and maximized.
A manager has to be aware of what's happening at all times. This means that he needs to have a network of subordinates and co-equals who would alert him or her if any problem arises. A broken machine, for example, can greatly slow the speed of production, so a manager must have a contingency plan for such an occurrence. As manager it is his role to react to the changes in the working floor.
Lastly, a manger needs to be an agent of change. Leaders are visionaries who are not only expected to be the figurehead of an organization, but also be the embodiment of the ideological essence of the company. When they in fact do this, it is more likely for them to command the respect of the entire company. Managers are also looked upon to make the adjustments and new ways of approaching things to ensure that the business will have a bright future. An avant-garde approach to dealing with problems and challenges is quite an advantage for a manager. He must be aware of the standards for risk management as well as the novel ways of mitigating the effects, should there be any such risks to production, may it be with employees, the technical aspects or other areas of business.