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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lean Tips Edition #139 (#2296 - #2310)

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 #2296 – Make Consistent Eye Contact When Listening
Learning how to listen isn’t just about what you say to others. Body language also has a major role to play.

Although it’s off-putting if you stare at your interlocutor and refuse to blink until they’ve stopped speaking, it is important to hold their gaze at least most of the time. It is an encouraging way to communicate interest, understanding, and focus.

Be sure to tailor your eye contact to the needs of others, too. If you’re dealing with someone anxious, cut back on direct stares and focus on other active listening skills that are less confronting to shy people.

Lean Tip #2297 – Ask Open Questions To Engage In Conversation
Closed questions are one that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, while open questions are designed to promote longer, more thoughtful responses.

When you ask closed questions it can seem like you just want to get specific information from the other person. Or, that you only have limited time for them. On the other hand, open questions show your desire to engage in a proper discussion and your interest in getting into the speaker’s mindset.

Lean Tip #2298 – Put Yourself In Their Shoes
Whether you agree with the speaker or even have an interest in what they have to say, what they are saying is important to them. Imagine yourself in their situation, wanting only to have someone listen to them. When they are speaking, make an effort to think of where they are coming from and why. Imagine what their life is like and what struggles they might be facing. People will appreciate that you made the effort to understand and really hear them.

Lean Tip #2299 – Listen to the Entire Message Without Judging or Refuting
Suppress the urge to let biases and prejudices prevent you from listening fully.  We can only do one thing effectively at a time: listen, judge, or respond.  Go in that order.  You have to begin with listening to the entire message, then you can weigh your thoughts against what has been said, and finally respond.  Allow each role to run its course in turn.  When you are the listener, you cannot simultaneously be the judge.  Our minds do not work in categories quite so neatly, but when we make this effort to suppress or postpone our desire to make premature judgments we become better listeners.

Lean Tip #2300 – Be Respectful, Listen 75%, Speak 25% of the Time.
This is a powerful tip unless you are giving a speech. Try to allow the other person to speak more than you and listen to them. Let them know you take their views and ideas seriously. Be willing to communicate with others at their level of understanding and attitude by adjusting your tone of voice, the rate of speech and choice of words to show that you are empathetic and trying to imagine being where they are at the moment.

Lean Tip #2301 – Leaders 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 #2302 – Value People and Nurture Relationships. 
Top-notch people skills are vital to sound leadership. Develop premium listening, communication and decision-making skill sets. Demonstrate integrity by being open, honest and fair.

Your transparency will reap clear rewards. If you treat people well, most will be encouraged to return the favor. By elevating the importance of people and relationships, you enhance your ability to relate to others in an authentic and meaningful way.

Lean Tip #2303 – Listen to your Team Members.
Your team is your most valuable asset, and ignoring their brilliance is a huge mistake. Model to your team what it looks like to care: ask them questions, try to understand, and encourage an open door policy. You’ll receive far more than you give, and model healthy dialogue.

Lean Tip #2304 – Value Your Employees
Appreciating the contribution of other people in an organization helps strengthen the relationship between the leader and the followers. The leader should exhibit good communication and listening skills such that no employees will feel inferior to other persons within the organization. Also, the leader should be honest, fair, and open to discussions that touch on the welfare of the employee. Valuing the contribution of employees in the organization enhances the leader’s ability to interact with people in a meaningful way.

Lean Tip #2305 – Praise Improvement, Even Minor Improvements.
Psychologists discovered long ago that when you positively reinforce a desired behavior, people are far more likely to repeat that behavior. Most people want to do the right thing, which means you will find far more success in leading a team if you focus on using positive reinforcement rather than negative actions like threats and fear tactics.

Lean Tip #2306 – Conduct Meetings Only When They Are Productive
One of the things that can really worsen the relationship between the management and the employees is non-productive, untimely and overly frequent meetings.

Meetings are great even if your employees don’t like them a bit. However, the one thing that must always be constant in all meetings is “time is money”. Make your meetings productive and conduct them only when there is a real need. If an issue is minor, but needs some stern mentioning, keep the meeting short.

Lean Tip #2307 – Make Good Relations with Employees the Top Priority
It is all too natural for new managers to get in that “performance mode”. They want to prove that they deserved the position and start overly focusing productivity and performance. While these are great aspects of a manager, they are not the first things you focus on. Your top priority should be to have happy relations with your employees.

How can you make people work when they are not happy to work under you? Not to mention, they can never be impressively productive unless they are working happily.

Lean Tip #2308 – Always Appreciate and Recognize
When there is no appreciation and recognition at an organization, self-motivation can become a fairy tale.

You can’t expect people to keep on doing a great job without getting recognized for their work. When people don’t receive recognition for their work, they come to your workplace just to “do their job”.

Your appreciation, recognition and the practice of rewarding them for their efforts can change their mentality, and convince them to go the extra mile.

Lean Tip #2309 – Make the Team Feel Safe.
Management and leadership are different disciplines.You cannot manage a team into combat. They must be led. It is hard to think that anyone would feel safe in a combat situation. It is all about trust and loyalty. When you trust the leadership and the team members to your right, left and rear, you have an overwhelming sense of comfort. When bullets start flying, politics go out the window. You are fighting to protect your teammates and nothing more.

Lean Tip #2310 – Don’t Criticize or Complain About People.

The surest way to demotivate people is to constantly criticize them or complain about them. If they make a mistake, put it in perspective with the things they constantly do well. Accentuate the positive and utilize mistakes as opportunities for continued improvement.

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