Build a Strong Foundation for Success

As you develop your skills as a Lean Leader, you are building the foundation for success.  Success is your career and increased success in the areas you influence.

When you lead the implementation of Lead practices and principles, you create a positive influence in the following three areas:

  1. Your own team members
  2. The work climate
  3. The overall organisation

Your influence in the organisation:  Regardless of the size of your organisation, filling your position of leadership, calls for willingness to identify with your organisation’s purpose and values to support it with your attitudes and your actions, and to facilitate the positive changes needed to the organisation’s ongoing continuous improvement and success.

Regardless of the type of your organisation – whether it is a provider of services, a distributor of goods, or a manufacturer, you are expected first of all to get the best possible results through your people.  Given defined human and financial resources, you must reach certain productivity goals.  As well as inspiring and upskilling your people, you much constantly look to eliminate waste (non-value added activity or cost) through implementing Lean systems, practices and tools.

You are effective as a team leader only when you continue to improve the productivity and reduce the costs of producing your product or services.

Although your personality, characteristics and skills are important, your value to the organisation can be measured only how effectively you are fulfilling its mission and achieving cost-effective results.

Your influence on your own team members:  As a leader you must understand and embrace the needs and wants of the members of your work group.  If you concentrate exclusively on your own needs and goals, neglecting those of your team member, a deep rift in team relationships could develop.  If you’re achievement orientated, you may be tempted to boost your own self-esteem and even downplay the contributions to continuous improvement initiatives and projects made by other team members.  When other team members feel that their efforts have been ignored, or that their value is not appreciated, they can become disengaged.  Consequently, they feel less responsibility for being productive or contributing to further improvement activities and changes.   Avoid this destructive pattern at all costs.  When you and your team members enjoy the positive results of shared responsibility and recognition, you team will thrive and you will become an exceptional Lean Leader.  Remember, people go where they are wanted, but only stay where they are appreciated.

Your influence on the work climate:  When you adopt a no-limitations belief in each persons’ worth and potential, you begin coaching each team member with an enthusiasm that says “You can do it!”  Your confidence in them gives them maximum opportunity to grow, to meet their own needs and to contribute to the continuous improvement and success of your department or work group.  When you believe in the ability of people to identify positive changes and perform productively, your expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

People tend to live up to what’s expected of them by others, especially by those they consider authority figures.  When you demonstrate that you believe your team members can succeed, they are willing to take more growth risks and embrace change.  A no-limitations belief in people also makes it easier for you to delegate various responsibilities to them.  When you demonstrate your confidence in their ability to perform, they will accept the challenge and work harder to meet your expectations and provide them with the required training and support.