"Networking is not about hunting. It is about farming. It’s about cultivating relationships." — Dr. Ivan Misner, NY bestselling author & founder of BNI
This is true of leadership as well. The best analogy of a Lean leader that I have heard is related to this quote. A Lean leader is a farmer not a hunter. Farmers take the long view, and win in the long term. Hunters take the short view, get early gains but ultimately die out. Farmers are shepherds.
The Lean leadership role has many names. Whether you call them a sensei, champion, coach, or leader; the role is no less critical for the organization to be successful. I am not one that pays much attention to titles. A Lean leader is an individual involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a team or of individual.
The following characteristics are desirable for a good Lean leader:
- Active-learner open to new ideas
- Natural problem-solving skills
- Basics technical skills (comfortable with spreadsheets, graphs, data, etc.)
- Keen Observer
- Passionate about improving processes
- Leadership skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Excellent communicator (writing & speaking)
- Systems thinkers (able to understand process flows, etc.)