June 19, 2024

Styles Of Leadership

Try Styles Of Leadership You Like It

York company’s leadership styles represent past and present

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Trola Industries, Inc. in York County is steeped in Barton family tradition.

Each of the family’s four generations has been involved with the four U.S. industrial revolutions, beginning in 1922 when John Z. Barton began a small electrical construction company in York. Last Feb. 6, Jonathan Barton succeeded his father, Tom, who was president and CEO at Trola since 1987. Jonathan’s previous role was executive VP and Chief Technology Officer.

The change in leadership has brought about a change in leadership style.

“Jonathan’s leadership at Trola Industries exemplifies a modern, employee-centric approach, aiming to foster a culture of collaboration, empowerment, and transparency,” Tom said.

Among Jonathan’s leadership innovations, Tom listed the following:

· Federated Collaborative Model: Trola champions a collaborative work environment, which not only enhances problem-solving abilities but also improves transparency and trust within the organization. “This model acknowledges the shift from traditional command-and-execute leadership, promoting a balance where collaboration coexists with a clear leadership mandate to make decisions, give direction, and ensure alignment with strategic objectives,” said Tom.

· Servant-based Leadership: Central to Trola’s philosophy is servant leadership, a style that places the growth, well-being, and empowerment of employees at the forefront. “By prioritizing the needs of the team, this approach aims to cultivate an inclusive environment where individuals can thrive authentically,” Tom said. “Servant leadership seeks to elevate the organization through the dedication and engagement of its workforce, fostering trust, accountability, and a sense of inclusion.”

· Radical Candor: “Jonathan has implemented a culture of Radical Candor at Trola, emphasizing the importance of caring personally for employees while also challenging them directly,” said Tom. “This framework encourages open, honest feedback across all levels of the organization, underpinned by the principles of being humble, helpful, immediate, in-person, and maintaining a distinction between private criticism and public

praise. The goal is to nurture a workplace where constructive feedback is delivered in a manner that supports personal and professional growth.”

· “Crawl-Walk-Run” Methodology: “Jonathan and Trola advocate for a gradual, phased approach to tackling tasks and achieving goals, emphasizing the importance of mastering basic tasks before proceeding to more complex challenges,” Tom said. The strategy is aimed at reducing stress, building confidence, and enhancing skill development, while providing a pathway to success.

The methodologies of father and son complement their strategic focus. Jonathan said that his father developed “a five-year strategic plan, underpinned by strategic objectives, to ensure all initiatives and training are aligned with the company’s goals.” He noted that his father also introduced “Health Checks” to simplify complex decisions through visual tools, thus enhancing strategic flexibility and decision-making clarity.

“These systems provide a simplified, visual approach to complex problem-solving, allowing team members to easily evaluate the impact of potential changes on projected outcomes,” said Jonathan.

Jonathan said his father emphasized building trust among team members, “recognizing it as the cornerstone of effective teamwork and collaboration. This approach underlines the critical role of a cohesive, collaborative team environment as the foundation for success.”

Tom’s mantra of “Design with the WOW in mind” encourages what Jonathan called a “customer-centric approach to product development and service delivery.” By envisioning and aiming for outcomes that elicit a positive reaction from customers, Jonathan said his father instilled “a culture of excellence and innovation throughout Trola.”

The combined leadership styles present what Jonathan called “a holistic approach that blends strategic foresight, employee empowerment, and operational excellence.”

Jonathan added that he and his father have created “a leadership model that not only respects the individual contributions of team members but also aligns them with the company’s larger

strategic vision. This synergistic leadership approach has positioned Trola Industries as a beacon of innovative management and organizational success.”

Trola Industries, Inc. is celebrating 54 years of business and Tom said the company’s mission is to be “a broad technical resource to the manufacturing community to guide them through the process of defining, designing and implementing automation solutions using digital data from plant floor sensors, machines and processing equipment.”

Digital data, Tom said, can allow plant managers to discover root causes of problems.

“Wireless sensors and digital cameras with imbedded AI become the new eyes and ears to predict issues before they happen,” said Tom. “Trola Industries, Inc. will continue to provide services to manufacture world-class custom electrical control panels.”

Trola’s engineering group provides a broad range of services, including plc software development, motor speed drive integrations, touch screen and edge computer software development, and machine vision applications, Tom noted. The company recently launched what Tom called “preventive/predictive maintenance” application services. These services use wireless sensors and AI enabled camera technology to assist small to medium size companies with the challenge of maximizing production equipment output, enhancing safety and improving quality.

The Barton family’s business legacy began more than 100 years ago with John Z. Barton’s electrical construction company. Involved in putting the first electrification into the dairies of York County for the implementation of cow milking machines, John was also instrumental in integrating new automation machinery into the cigar industry in York County in the 1920s and in converting steam-driven prime mover systems to individual electric motor use.

A century later, the Barton family continues to use innovation to drive their business.


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