Many companies that employ manual laborers hire leadmen to oversee the work being completed. Leadmen, also called production supervisors or foremen, work for construction companies, contractors or factories. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more leadmen work for plastics manufacturers, grocery stores and printing companies than for any other industries. They divide their time between working at the production site and in the office. Their duties include supervising employees, reviewing the work and motivating workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leadmen earned an average wage of $27.96 per hour in 2013.
Leadmen spend time working alongside the employees and visiting work sites. At times, the leadman may need to perform the same physical tasks as the employees in order to meet deadlines. These tasks could include running a machine or laying sod. He may need to climb ladders to oversee the work performed on a client's roof. If the work is being performed on a site, the leadman may need to walk long distances to evaluate workers' progress.
Paperwork and Reports
When the leadman works from her office, she focuses on the paperwork required to keep the operation running smoothly and to keep management informed. She creates production schedules, assigning employees to various projects and ensuring that projects will be finished on schedule. She completes employee evaluations and records updates to each employee’s personnel file. She also prepares reports for management that communicate the results and efficiency of employees' work. She spends some of her office time reviewing budgets for her department and responding to inquiries from other departments.
Training and Safety
Production workers typically use large equipment and a variety of tools. The risk of serious injury or death is significantly higher than in many other jobs. The leadman maintains a high focus on safety in order to keep employees free from injury and the company free from potential liability. He demonstrates proper procedures for using various tools and provides feedback to workers on ways to work efficiently while preventing injury. He also communicates safety tips regularly through email or in person. When individual employees fail to comply with the required safety procedures, the leadman disciplines the employee using verbal warnings, written warnings or termination.
Employees pursuing a career as a leadman benefit the most from practical experience on the job. Minimum education requirements include a high school diploma or GED. Certifications, such as the Certified Construction Manager issued through the Construction Manager Certification Institute, add credibility to the leadman’s qualifications. Many technical schools offer one- or two-year programs that prepare individuals for running certain types of machinery. A degree or an apprenticeship from one of these programs increases an individual's marketability in this career field.