Top Ten Qualities of a Good Pressroom Manager

Pressroom Manager
With 21 years experience as a pressman, working both in management and on the press, I would like to share what I think are the top ten qualities of a good pressroom manager.

Let’s start with a question: Do you prefer to be managed or led. Do you prefer a leader or a manager? I think it goes without saying that we would much prefer to have a leader than a manager. A leader sets by example, and this inspires others to take pride in their work. So while this article title uses the word manager, a leader is a much better word. So here are the ten qualities:

1. A Good Leader
Volumes could be written about this quality, but in a pressroom setting, this is the one who dedicates himself, not to pushing paper in his office, but spending it in the pressroom, troubleshooting and communicating with the crew. Some days, he puts on his work clothes and helps the crew clean the press, yes even menial duties.
2. Takes Pride In Printing
He doesn’t have a “good enough” mentality. He records numbers, records. A good pressroom manager keeps track of the most ever copies printed in a day, a month, a year. He pays attention to good numbers and praises the pressmen for their good work. Even when their not around, he speaks highly of them to management.
3. Thoroughly Understands Printing
Anyone who puts a pressroom manager in charge who knows little about the presses that the pressmen work on needs to give his head a shake. He should have a remarkable ability to troubleshoot a press.
4. Commitment
As a pressman, he has already demonstrated that this is the trade he wants to be in. He has staying power and should have many years of press experience under his belt.
5. Handles Personnel Well
A good sign that this is lacking is personnel turnover. When good guidance is given and discipline is administered where necessary, the pressman will respect the pressroom manager and strive to do his best. He can spot a good pressman and give the necessary training.
6. Takes Training Seriously
When it comes to training, you either pay now or later. A good pressroom manager is ahead of the game. He is already training people to fill positions that don’t exist yet. Sure there is a cost to training people, but he knows that it will pay back dividends in the future.
7. Good Work Ethic
Let’s face it, pressroom management isn’t for everyone. Why? You need dedication. This isn’t simply a nine to five job where he shows up a few minutes late and leaves a few minutes early. Dedication to the work is essential.
8. Speaks Highly Of Others
This is a difficult one to do, but it works both ways. One who speaks poorly of upper management can only expect to have his subordinate pressmen do the same to him.
9. Gives Clear Direction
This involves things like giving the pressmen clear direction as to what is acceptable and not acceptable. He doesn’t steam inside when a pressman let some quality go that is questionable. He speaks up and deals with it. While not being rigid, he will no turn a blind eye to laziness or lack of aptitude. He deals with it.
10. Not A Know-It-All
He readily accepts that he has things to learn, even from those that are under his management. He strives to develop his people skills (which is really why he got the job in the first place) and advance his knowledge of the offset printing equipment.

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