Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Daily Lean Tips Edition #85 (1276-1290)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #1276 - Allow Others to Shine
Be a leader with the intention of letting the people around you showcase their abilities. Allow them to give advice and suggest ideas by posing questions that encourage interaction. Being a leader doesn’t mean being a know-it-all; keep learning from your team.
Give your team some credit and praise in front of others. Some people may find this uncomfortable, but I think that letting other people know how well your teammate is doing can really boost their self-confidence and help them maximize their performance!

Lean Tip #1277 - Find the Balance Between Aggressive and Realistic Goals
Create a culture of performance by setting aggressive goals and holding your employees accountable for regularly reporting on their progress. However, the goals can't be so aggressive that your employees quickly fall behind and feel like they can never realistically achieve them. Otherwise, they will quit stretching to reach the goals. That means that you have to regularly re-evaluate the goals (at least on a quarterly basis) to decide whether they need to be scaled down or scaled up.

Lean Tip #1278 - Trust Your People — And Let Them Know It
Knowledge workers typically have jobs that require creative solutions and decision-making. They need to stay sharp mentally to achieve top performance. The onus is on management to create an atmosphere that fosters and encourages that kind of creativity. One of the best things you can do is to let your employees know that you trust them and that you have faith in their ability to do the job, solve the problem, and/or meet the deadline.

Lean Tip #1279 - Avoid Blame (a.k.a. Throwing People Under the Bus)
In any business, there are going to be times when you fail, and there will be things that simply don't pan out the way you had hoped. Do a post-mortem (even if it's informal) to figure out what went wrong and learn from it. If there were egregious errors made by individuals, deal with them privately. If necessary, let the person know your expectations for how this should be handled in the future. Don't publicly blame individuals — either directly or indirectly — in meetings or team e-mails. If you do, you risk creating an atmosphere in which people are so afraid to make mistakes that they don't spend enough time doing the proactive and creative work necessary to avoid future problems — or more important, to drive new innovations.

Lean Tip #1280 - Don't Provide All the Answers — Make Your Employees Think
You are the manager. You are the leader. That does not mean that you have a monopoly on all of the good ideas. If your employees are hesitant to make decisions without asking your opinion first, you haven't properly empowered them. If your employees aren't making enough of their own decisions, you should change your tactics. When they present you with information and ask what to do about a situation, push the ball back into their court and ask them, "What do you think?" They might be surprised at first, but after you do that several times, they'll start thinking it through before they come to you so that they're fully prepared to discuss the matter and make a recommendation. That's a good thing, because they're usually closer to the customer and more familiar with the details of the work. You need their opinions. And you need them to make some of their own decisions.

Lean Tip #1281 - Build Consensus by Letting People Know "Why"
One of your key responsibilities in management is communicating about new initiatives and strategy changes. The worst thing you can do is surprise your staff members with a fully formed idea about a new way to do something that will drastically alter their day-to-day work. When you spring it on them, people will naturally be defensive and skeptical. Whenever possible, give people an informal heads-up that a change is coming and let them know some of the reasoning involved. They will be glad you kept them in the loop. An even better course of action is to have a brainstorming session with your team when you are still formulating a new idea or strategy change, so you can gather their ideas and feedback. 

Lean Tip #1282 - A Team Leader Should Lead by Example. 
They should do this by not being afraid to jump into the ‘trenches’ and do some of the sales work themself and by negotiating resources for the team. They should also encourage team members to take risks and support them when they do. Being a hands on manager will inspire and motivate the team to achieve greater things.

Lean Tip #1283 - Teach Adaptability to Your Team. 
The effective team manager should teach adaptability and flexibility to all of his team members. Being able to change focus and have adaptability in learning and sharing information allows for better communication, a greater sense of empowerment among staff and a faster exchange of information.

Lean Tip #1284 - Bring Positivity into the Workplace
Leaders have a quality of motivation to them, whether it is contagious from their work ethic or it could possibly be that they are visionaries and people want to follow them, but one characteristic of a great leader is their positive, upbeat attitude. Bringing positiveness into the team is a crucial piece in effectively leading a team. It allows people to have something to grab onto when the going gets tough, which we all know it will. 

Lean Tip #1285 - Establish an Impeccable Standard of Excellence.
Set high expectations at the outset and raise the bar on any crucial factors. The best way to establish a standard is by modeling the expected behavior yourself. Showcase excellence. When your actions have the potential to affect everyone around you and the bottom line, don't dabble in mediocrity. Reflecting excellence is critical to exercising effective leadership. This is ground zero for establishing influence.

Lean Tip # 1286 - During Business Changes, Engage Employees by Understanding Their Needs.
Change happens within every company, and if handled poorly, it can result in employee uncertainty and turnover. Prevent that situation by understanding what they need to re-engage. With each new announced change, it’s natural for employees to ask: “What’s in this for me?” But if you effectively hook people’s hearts, you reduce employee questioning. Good leaders understand that with every significant change, employees need to be re-enrolled in their work. Employees need to believe their best days are ahead of them or they will check out without you knowing it.

Lean Tip #1287 - To Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, Determine the Best and Worst Outcomes
To evaluate risks and rewards, try to determine what the worst-case scenario would look like, whether the payoff is worth that risk, and how you could prevent it from happening. Consider the best-case scenario as well: How will you recognize success? What will you do next? This helps you prepare for contingencies.

Lean Tip #1288 - For Team-building Activities, Encourage Collaboration, Not Competition
If a team-building activity has a contest element, some employees will become so focused on "winning" that they may fail to learn anything from the experience. Instead, choose an activity that encourages your staff to work together to solve a problem.

Lean Tip #1289 - See Mistakes as Opportunities that Set You Up For Progress
Embrace mistakes as opportunities to grow. In today’s business climate, people are making split-second decisions. That presents the likelihood for mistakes. But keep in mind that if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking any risks. And that could mean you’re not making progress. Managers have a specific role in dealing with staff mistakes. You want your staff to make as few mistakes as possible. But workers do need to know when they make mistakes, so that they can learn and grow in the workplace.

Lean Tip #1290 - Connect With Employees by Sharing Your Vision and Goals
Provide a clear and compelling vision with goals to employees and job candidates. This also includes investors and customers, so everyone can see what they need to do, get excited about the opportunity, and attract top talent to work with and alongside your team.

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