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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lean Tips Edition #110 (1651-1665)

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 #1651 – Build Trust in Organizational Leadership.
People crave transparency, openness, and honesty from their leaders. Unfortunately, business leaders continue to face issues of trust. According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, one in four workers say they don’t trust their employer, and only about half believe their employer is open and upfront with them. If leaders disengage or refuse to share their own ongoing learning journeys, how can they expect their people to enthusiastically pursue theirs? It’s the old adage of “lead by example.” If managers want employees to engage in learning and development, then they need to show that they are actively pursuing their own personal learning journeys as well.

Lean Tip #1652 – Provide Constant Feedback on the Positives
When people know what they’re doing well, they’ll keep doing it – or, even better, do more of it. Providing someone with a little recognition on what they’re doing well can go a long way toward boosting morale. This is not to say “ignore the weaknesses” – just don’t make the weaknesses the only focus area of feedback. This doesn’t mean you should not create accountability, it actually means the opposite – but, if all you do is criticize, people will learn how to hide their mistakes or shift blame.

Lean Tip #1653 – Collaborate and Share on Problem-Solving with Your Employees
When employees get the idea that their manager or leader is the one who has to solve all the problems, it takes away from their sense of empowerment, and ultimately is likely to decrease engagement over time. Encourage team members to take responsibility, and work through problems or issues on their own, or collaboratively. It’s not the manager’s job to fix everyone else’s problems.

Lean Tip #1654 – Develop “Soft-skills”
It’s unfortunate that these vital skills have been de-emphasized in corporate environments. Even the name “soft skills” makes them seem relatively unnecessary. Emotional intelligence at work is just as important as the intellectual know-how required to perform a specific task. Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill all play a vital role in effective leadership and execution at all levels of the organization. When the team is in harmony, work gets done more efficiently and with greater ease.

Lean Tip #1655 – Provide Plenty of Context
Most leaders carry lots of information in their brains. Unfortunately, many employees don't get the benefit of all that information, yet they are expected to take action and make good decisions as if they understood every nuance. Great leaders figure out how to extract the important information from their minds and share it in a structured and consistent manner. An employee who clearly understands the core values, purpose and direction of the company can easily make consistent decisions and take appropriate action at any junction. It's on you as the leader to impart your vision. That's how you lead.

Lean Tip #1656 - Appreciate Your Team Members’ Efforts
Only by appreciating others and making your team members aware of the importance of their role can you drive your team towards success. Engage all your team members by sharing information relevant to your project and recognizing their participation through regular feedback.  Besides this, reward all members of the team for achieving specific goals to motivate them and make them more committed towards the project or the company.

Lean Tip #1657 - Facilitate Idea Sharing
Set up either physical or virtual work spaces to enable team members to get together to brainstorm, share ideas, or discuss progress on projects. An open-work environment is not always appropriate for team discussions, so you might need outdoor or remote spaces in the workplace to facilitate team meetings.

Lean Tip #1658 - Discuss Team Dynamics on a Regular Basis
Encourage open communication during team meetings to discuss team dynamics in order to make your team more effective and productive. Invite ideas and suggestions as to how team members could elevate teamwork to achieve specific goals. These discussions should always be used as a chance to improve team dynamics rather than criticizing someone in front of other team members.

Lean Tip #1659 - Welcome Questions, Suggestions, and Comments
Encourage everyone on the team to put forward their ideas, suggestions, and feedback regarding the project to identify and correct issues and increase the effectiveness of the team in a timely manner. Remember that all great ideas and improvements come up through questions or by looking at a situation from a different perspective, so encourage all types of input from each team member.

Lean Tip #1660 - Provide Learning Opportunities
By offering training or providing learning opportunities on an ongoing basis, you can strengthen team members’ skills and capabilities for consistent growth and development. Also, you can assign mentors or hire an external professional coach to develop specific skills and competencies within the team as well as individuals.

Lean Tip #1661 - Share The Vision With Your Team
The most important element of teamwork is sharing a common vision so that everyone can work together toward it. When everyone on your team knows your goals and vision, they better understand their role in realizing it.

Don’t be shy about communicating your true vision and goals to your team. Do you hope to be the best in your neighborhood? In the world? Do you want to provide the best experience for every customer that walks through your doors? Tell your employees, so they can all look to your vision for guidance and inspiration.

Lean Tip #1662 - Share Information With Your Team
No one likes to be kept in the dark, and withholding information from team members is a surefire way to create confusion and resentment among team members. It can also create competitive undercurrents in your organization, which is the antithesis of teamwork.

Be clear with everyone on your team about new information as it relates to your business and your goals. Your staff will appreciate being kept in the loop, and more importantly, it sends the message that you value and respect their place in the organization.

Lean Tip #1663 – Empower Your Team
When it comes to teamwork, one of the most detrimental forces is a management team that micromanages. A team functions best when they are empowered to make important decisions and complete the critical tasks that move an organization forward.

In some cases, you may need to be overt about empowering your team. Tell them that you expect and encourage them to be self-starters, to take tasks on themselves and to complete things without typical “approvals” (if possible). By doing so, you’re sending a message of trust and respect to everyone on your team.

Lean Tip #1664 – Listen to Your Team
As a manager, hopefully you’ve been able to build a culture of openness and feedback with your team. And since you’ve done so, you’re hopefully hearing the highs and lows of employee experience on a regular basis.

The important thing when it comes to feedback is not to glaze over or dismiss it. Your responsibility is to listen and really hear the feedback your employees have so you can address it in a way that improves the team dynamic. Be patient, and make sure your employees know that you’re there to listen and help whenever they need you.

Lean Tip #1665 - Clarify Roles and Responsibilities on Your Team
It’s tough to work well together when you don’t understand how someone’s role is different (or similar) to your own. Clarifying roles is an essential part of running a well-functioning team.

It’s important to be proactive in outlining team roles. If you wait for questions to arise, it means you’re losing critical productivity and team-building opportunities. As you outline new goals for your team, make sure you’re also outlining each member’s role and responsibilities in reaching those goals - either in a meeting, or one-on-one with each person.

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