Friday, May 27, 2016

Lean Quote: You Manage Things; You Lead People

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"You manage things; you lead people.— Grace Murray Hopper

While a leader can be a boss, not every boss is a leader. The distinction between being a boss and being a leader may seem small, but it means the world to the people who work for you.

The definition of leadership is “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” That is why it is my belief that if you are a good leader for your organization, then you really don’t need to worry about being The Boss. You will gain more influence and have more positive impact on your organization if your team feels valued and respected and has an understanding of where you expect them to be headed.

Here are few key points on leadership:

  • A company is a community, not a machine.  When building a synergy on any team, you have to start by building trust and confidence up and down the chain of command.  Start by developing a vision that is easy to communicate and easy to comprehend. Once your team understands the collective vision and goals of the organization, individual goals become closely tied to the collective goal.  Brainstorm with your team and listen intently to suggestions and incorporate best practices.
  • Management is service, not control.  Once a vision is established, a great leader constantly queries his/her managers to see if they have the tools necessary to excel.  Once the tools are determined and obtained, empower your managers to make decisions on their own, but always make it clear that you are available to assist at any time.
  • Employees are my peers, not my children.  This point ties into the previous point about providing service.  Nobody in any organization likes to be “talked down to” or constantly second-guessed.  Treat your team members as you would expect to be treated.  Remember, you want to encourage the sharing of ideas

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