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Monday, May 6, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #138 (#2281-2295)

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 #2281 – Invest in Your Team’s Education
Top leaders are typically people who have a commitment to learning and development, and who are continually looking for ways to expand their skills and knowledge. As such, if you want your current workers to become the best leaders possible, it’s wise to invest time and money into their education. While you can leave learning up to them, you’ll find that they develop much more quickly if you aid them in this area, and show you’re willing to invest in them.

Lean Tip #2282 – Challenge Workers Regularly
Challenging your staff members on a regular basis is another good way to help them become good leaders. After all, those in top positions need to know how to think on their feet, deal with challenging situations and people, and work out how to perform unfamiliar tasks. The sooner employees are tested in this area, the sooner they can grow stronger. In addition, when you test people, you quickly learn where their true capabilities lie, and where they still need some assistance.

Lean Tip #2283 – Ignite Managers’ Passion to Coach Their Employees.
Historically, managers passed on knowledge, skills, and insights through coaching and mentoring. But in our more global, complex, and competitive world, the role of the manager has eroded. Managers are now overburdened with responsibilities. They can barely handle what they’re directly measured on, let alone offer coaching and mentoring. Organizations need to support and incentivize managers to perform this work.

Lean Tip #2284 – Ask Good Questions.
Great questions lead to great answers, and great answers lead to great conversations. As a manager or leader, it is critical that you develop strong relationships with your employees. This will help you determine if your employees are curious, have the capacity to perform and improve, and have a positive attitude.

Coaching requires both encouragement and empowerment. Managers must work with employees to build one-on-one relationships that result in improved performance.

Your employees are likely to have a lot of input, questions, and feedback. It’s important for them to know you care enough to listen to what they have to say, and encourage them to share their opinions.

Lean Tip #2285 – Commit to Continuous Learning.
Make a commitment to improve your own skills and competencies. If you’re not continuously learning, why should your employees? Lead by example and your team will follow.

Show that you are interested in their success (why wouldn’t you be?). Ask questions about where they see their career going, or how they see their role evolving in the company. Even if they don’t have a plan laid out yet, these questions will make them think about their career and what they want to accomplish within the organization.

Show your employees that you don’t just want them to do better so you look better, but that you’re actively interested in their career, accomplishments and professional success.

Lean Tip #2286 - Communicate, Every Day, Every Way
Good communication is at the heart of great teamwork. Great teams communicate well and often, their members are happy to share ideas, brainstorm together, ask for feedback, and be contradicted.

This doesn’t mean team members always agree, but they’re able to communicate through their differences to settle on a sound solution and continue moving forwards as a team.

So, how to enable good communication?

Be clear: Set the tone for communication among the team. When is it acceptable to close your office door? Is it okay to contact someone after hours? How often should the whole team get together? This outline will help to keep everyone on the same page and communication flowing.

Listen: Communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking. Make sure you’re listening to fellow team members and actually considering their thoughts before offering your own solutions and input.

Method: There are so many ways to reach each other in the modern age. Try to use the most suitable tool to communicate for your specific needs, whether that’s email, a chat tool, phone call, or face to face. We’ve got an article that’ll help you decide which communication tool is best for what.

Touch base: Encourage informal meetings, information sharing, and huddles between team members. People shouldn’t have to wait for a weekly catch-up meeting to get together. Collaborative team members are comfortable communicating as and when they need to.

Collaboration tools: These enable workers to connect across the world, or across the office, in a group or one-to-one conversation. They also make progress on group projects at the times that are most convenient for them.

Lean Tip #2287 - Focus on Team’s Strengths
Focusing on the weaknesses of your team members can seriously affect engagement and consequently lower the team’s productivity. According to research, employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.

Everyone is different - we have different strengths, passions, and weaknesses. One of the cornerstones of a good team leader is focusing on individuals’ strengths, and bringing together a team of people that has a combined skillset to get the job done. As long as everyone contributes by bringing a strong skill to the team, their weakness should not be dwelt on. 

Lean Tip #2288 - Inspire Creative Thinking
Just because you have been doing a task one way for your entire career does not mean that’s the best way to accomplish it. There are always problems to be solved and better ways to do things, so use the minds around you and encourage your employees to share creative business solutions.

Putting the challenge in the hands of your employees will not only save you some headache, but it’s also likely that you’ll come out with a better end result. They do say that two heads are better than one.

Lean Tip #2289 – Acknowledge Good Work
Don’t be one of these bosses who only gives feedback when you’ve got something to criticize! By providing your staff with positive feedback it will help to build their confidence and encourage them to get more involved in the future, so it’s vital that you acknowledge their achievements and the effort that they are putting in. Encourage creativity and ensure that everyone is clear about what is expected of them.

Lean Tip #2290 - Set a Good Example
Your staff will look to you for guidance and inspiration, so it’s essential that you set a good example to gain their respect. If you expect them to behave professionally and commit to their work, it’s vital that you do so yourself. Make sure that you are doing your job, continuing to develop your career and support your team in doing so too.

Lean Tip #2291 - Communicate Better and Avoid Mass Training
It’s tempting to bulk your team training, but this isn't a productive option. While sometimes necessary, it's rare that a one-off, one-size-fits-all approach to training will be effective.

Train beyond the basic needs of your employees, and make it personalized. Why? Nobody likes to be lectured about something they already do. That's a waste of time, money and resources.

Instead, invest in individual training. By tailoring your training to individuals, you can help bring the best out of everyone and address clear role expectations, existing problems, the positives and the weakness of your team in a respectful way. This way, your employees will clearly understand their individual strengths (and their weaknesses) and they'll be able to effectively action change.

Lean Tip #2292 - Stress Training as Investment.
The reason training is often considered optional at many companies is because it is thought of as an expense rather than an investment. While it’s true that training can be costly up front, it’s a long-term investment in the growth and development of your human resources.

Lean Tip #2293 - Promote a Culture of Learning.
In today’s fast-paced economy, if a business isn’t learning, it’s going to fall behind. A business learns as its people learn. Communicate your expectations that all employees should take the necessary steps to hone their skills and stay on top of their professions or fields of work. Make sure you support those efforts by providing the resources needed to accomplish this goal.

Lean Tip #2294 - Clarify Connections to the Training.
Some employees may feel that the training they’re receiving isn’t relevant to their job. It’s important to help them understand the connection early on, so they don’t view the training sessions as a waste of valuable time. Employees should see the training as an important addition to their professional portfolios. Award people with completion certificates at the end of the program.

Lean Tip #2295 - Provide Resources to Employees

Pull together a list of go-to resources for new employees to explore—things like annual reports, the company intranet and website, and any recent marketing materials. While it may sound painful to thumb through old files, reports and presentations from years past are valuable tools to help someone get acclimated before she gets off and running. (Just make sure you’re not providing too much at once, or you may get a deer-in-headlights reaction.)

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