CI 101, Leadership

How do you show respect to your team? First, show they matter.

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.


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.”

CI 101, Leadership

10 Ways to help your team to build self-discipline

To achieve a successful continuous improvement culture implementation, leadership needs to Develop new behavior patterns.  Leadership will learn new skills and teach them to the team at the same time, which is a monumental task.  Everybody will have to practice self-discipline to let go of old habits and embrace the new ones.  The heart of the continuous improvement or lean system is a highly flexible and motivated team member that is always improving.  How do you motivate your employees while helping them to create new habits?  Here is a list of ten things you can do to help them to build self-discipline.

  1. Model the new behaviors every day, go to gemba, ask with respect, and always explain why.  Set a good example, teach your team how to do it, be consistent and persistent.  
  2. Foster an environment of respect and collaboration.
  3. Encourage daily improvements, kaizen events, PDCA, and root cause analysis.
  4. Take your time to listen, get to know your team, and become a teacher and a facilitator.
  5. Give feedback often, create a reward system, and a formal performance appraisal program, which includes a real development plan.
  6. Give specific instructions and communicate clear expectations, follow-up, and assess.
  7. Ensure everybody knows what performance metrics are used to measure success and make them visible.  
  8. Conduct daily stand-up or huddle meetings, discuss what we did good, what we can improve.  Celebrate the wins!
  9. Promote customer satisfaction to see the process from customer lenses.
  10. Be present, visit the workplace every day, not just when there are problems.  And when you go, acknowledge the good things your team is doing and come back with at least one improvement idea.

When employees participate daily in housekeeping, small improvement steps, problem-solving, and standards review they start to see the difference from the previous culture and understand the benefits of the continuous improvement culture.  Learning and becoming an integral part of the company’s success are ways to make them feel that their work is meaningful, and you appreciate it.  When leadership is showing them what to do and how to do it they not only learn but start to build trust and discipline to do what is expected.

Leadership

How do you show your team that you care?

The heart of any business is the employees. Regardless of your experience and skills, they determine your business success. The most prosperous companies recognize that and transform their operations to be people-centric.

We know that when you take care of your team, your team takes care of your customers. The only way to deliver the highest quality of service at the lowest cost is by taking care of the heart of your business. What does it mean to take care of your people? As a leader, one of your top responsibilities is your development and the development of your people. It is like the oxygen mask on the airplanes, you need to put yours first, and then you can help others.

How is it to be a good leader? Good leaders have excellent communication skills and listen without judging. Also, they are grateful to their team and help their people to be successful. They see not only the employee but the human being. Respect people and have open and honest conversations.

The best way to show respect is by treating people like human beings and not as machines. Understand their needs and create an environment to help them succeed. Build high-trust relationships and drive out fear. Encourage teamwork, learning, and participation in improvement activities. When people have the chance to change their work conditions and learn problem-solving and other techniques, they feel appreciated and respected.

Caring about your employees is not only to provide good pay and benefits. It is about providing the opportunities and the environment to learn, grow, and feel that they are capable of making meaningful contributions. In times of coronavirus be a leader is more challenging than ever, but the focus is the same, always put the people first. I talked more about how to be a leader in the times of coronavirus, in this other article.