Three characteristics of workplaces with toxic environments are disrespect, ineffective communication, and lack of growth. Those things are the contrary of what lean promotes. The heart of the Lean system is the people. Continuous improvement is not about tools, it is about people. In a successful continuous improvement culture, leadership trusts the team to solve their problems, and that requires much more than training.
The best way to feel motivated and good about their jobs is to feel leadership’s respect and trust. Unfortunately, not everybody treats their peers with respect, not in the workplace, not in the street, or in the supermarket. Considering the turmoil we are living these days between the pandemic and the civil unrest for the double standard in our society, it is worth to list basic ways to show respect.
Leaders and citizens, we all need to learn how to listen more and talk less and practice compassion. We need to hold one another accountable, be consistent with our beliefs, driving out fear of speaking up, and trying to do things better. The workplace is not an isolated island, what happens in our society affect it, and vice versa. Perhaps, the lean pillar of respect the people can help us to go through these challenging times inside and out of the workplace. As I learned from Bob Chapman’s TrulyHumanLeadership blog, “To get trust, you have to freely give it.”