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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

10 More Ways to Show Respect for People

Respect for People is one of the least well known and often under practiced principles of Lean thinking. As a voice in the Lean community I feel a sense of responsibility to try to change that.

Showing respect in the workplace is one of the most important traits of a Lean environment. Some of the most productive time of our lives is spent on our jobs. Our office is a kind of our second home and our co-workers becomes more like our family members.

Demonstrating respect for people goes beyond just being nice to them. Showing respect in the workplace is all about the relationship we develop with other people and how we value them. To explain this more here are another 10 ways to show respect for people in your organization:

1. Provide a safe working environment. We need to eliminate work hazards which can cause employees to have an injury.

2. We need to relieve people of any unnecessary burdens that wear them down. Don’t overload them.

3. Don’t trouble your customer (anyone who consumes your work or decisions). Don’t give them defects.

4. Encourage coworkers to express opinions and ideas. Use people’s ideas to change or improve work. Let employees know you used their idea, or, better yet, encourage the person with the idea to implement the idea.

5. Don’t take problems away from people. Teach them problem solving skills and let them solve the problems.

6. Develop people who can think for themselves. People who can think for themselves and are experts in their area often need to be empowered to feel respected.

7. Give people the responsibility to make decisions about their work autonomously.

8. Challenging people (constructively) to perform at their highest possible level of performance.

9. Manager act as teachers, not directors. Mentor people closely in the ways of Lean.

10. Don’t waste employee’s time. Don’t force people to do wasteful work.

Asking people to improve their work and giving them the tools to do it (e.g. Kaizen) shows the ultimate form of respect in my opinion. In other words management is saying that we trust and expect that you will take a hand in making things better in order to ensure our survival. The implied message is one of mutual trust and respect.

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