Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lean Tips Edition #90 (1351 -1365)

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 #1351 - Create and Maintain a Team Spirit
Team is like a family, where mutual support and trust are the most important values. Organize team activities both during working time and after. You will have the half of success by creating and maintaining a powerful team spirit at the workplace.

Lean Tip #1352 - Learn From Each Other
When managing a group of people, it’s crucial to remind your team that it’s made up of individuals who bring diverse skills to the group. This, of course, applies to workplace skills but don’t forget about the perhaps underutilized creative talents of your employees.

Every few weeks, try hosting a rotating “skillshare” where a team member presents an untapped skill to the entire group. Encouraging people to share their talents and interests will not only give them a chance to work on something they’re really excited about, it’ll also help the group to unwind together.

Lean Tip #1353 - Ask More Questions
When an employee comes to you and has an issue with the current status quo, take this opportunity to get curious with them and ask questions about why it’s not working, and what they would do to fix it. Maybe a major overhaul isn’t even in order, and it’s a simple adjustment that can make everyone more engaged. These one-on-one opportunities with your team are great ways to, little by little, shift away from the current state of affairs towards something more meaningful.

Lean Tip #1354 - Challenge Your Employees to Move Out of Their Comfort Zone.
You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

Lean Tip #1355 - Set Motivating Goals
It is incredibly important to get goals right. When goals support key initiatives and are aligned with the department or organization’s strategic goals, they have a lot of power to direct work almost effortlessly. And when work piles up, stress mounts, and we start to lose sight of how to prioritize, goals can refocus our efforts and help keep us on track.

To be motivating, goals should make a difference, be fairly urgent, have a measurable accomplishment tied to them, and sound challenging. There should be a visible difference between the success and failure of a goal, the timeframe for accomplishment should be shorter than one year, and the completion of the goal should evoke a sense of pride.

Lean Tip #1356 - Make Time to Lead.
To be effective, team leaders need to invest time in the role. Too often, this responsibility is simply added onto someone’s already lengthy task list, thus setting the new leader up for failure. As a team leader you need to be visible to the team and available to support them. If you’re predominantly tied up with your own critical hands-on tasks, you won’t be. So, be sure to review and re-negotiate your workload before taking on a leadership role in the first place.

Lean Tip #1357 - Get to Know Your Team.
Leadership is all about how you influence your team to achieve its objectives—something you’ll struggle to do if you don’t get to know your team members and what makes them tick. While it might be tempting to jump in and start making big moves from day one, remember that you’re not there to flex your ego.

Take time to listen to your team members; find out what their issues and aspirations are, gather ideas, and identify potential strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you formulate a leadership approach that stands a chance of success. Getting to know who you’re working with is the first all-important step to bonding with the team and establishing their respect and trust. The old adage of listening twice as much as you speak still holds true.

Lean Tip #1358 - Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
Once your team is up and running, it’s imperative to keep the communication going to build relationships, assess progress, and identify risks and issues. Plus, you’ll get more engagement from team members if they see you investing time in them and showing interest in their activities. Make expectations and responsibilities clear so that everyone knows who’s doing what, why and by when. This seems obvious but don’t assume everyone has your detailed understanding of the project at hand. Encourage and embrace new ideas. The more your team can contribute to the project, the happier they’ll be.

Lean Tip #1359 - Lead by Example.
Think about the behaviors you want and expect from your team members and be sure to exhibit those traits yourself. You’re the role model, so what you say and do will impact the team’s daily work habits and attitudes. That said, it’s important to be yourself and to believe in yourself. If you fake it, you’ll soon be unmasked and you’ll lose credibility and trust.

Be open, honest and passionate. Treat everyone on the team fairly, with respect and without favoritism and you’ll find those behaviors returned. Extend the same courtesy to the rest of the organization as well. Never undermine or criticize other individuals or departments in front of the team. Make it clear you’re all there to work towards success for the big picture.

Lean Tip #1360 - Reward the Good and Learn from the Bad (and the Ugly).
Be quick to recognize a good performance and reward it where appropriate. You might not be in a position to hand out pay raises and promotions but a little bit of verbal praise goes a long way in showing your team you are both aware of and appreciative of their achievements.

Be equally as timely in tackling poor performance issues. The longer you leave them, the tougher they’ll be to fix. Look for the best in people and understand that mistakes will happen. When they do, learn from them and see how they can be prevented in future. And whatever you do, don’t play the blame game.

If you need to have a challenging conversation, do it in private; no public floggings. And don’t try to win a popularity contest. Not all your feedback and initiatives will be well-received, but if you concentrate more on being everyone’s friend instead of being a strong leader, the work will suffer, as will your integrity.

Lean Tip #1361 - Remove Individual Competition
Competition can kill collaboration. If you want the team to work together, you need to not single out employee’s efforts and instead look at team performance and team metric.

Lean Tip #1362 - Form Common Team Skills.
Be sure everyone has a common skill base for communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, giving and receiving peer feedback. I find that teams who have these common skill sets are much more productive than teams that don't. Technical expertise is only half of the success quotient.

Lean Tip #1363 - Help Your Team See the “Big Picture.”
Take time to explain to your team how their assignments and projects fit into the company’s larger goals and overall objectives. This will help demonstrate how every task they complete can have an impact on the company’s reputation, success, and bottom line.

Lean Tip #1364 - Create an Environment of Constant Learning and Development—Be Sure to Include Yourself in this Process.
Encourage your team to explore new methods for reaching their individual goals and those set by the company. Allow them to make and learn from their mistakes, and be sure to reward new and innovative ideas.

Lean Tip #1365 – Provide Professional Guidance.

A good manager and leader should also be a mentor. Make yourself available to staff members and show interest in their career development within the company. Don’t overlook the motivational power of positive reinforcement because your staff will appreciate your commitment to their progress.

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