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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Lean Tips Edition #153 (#2505 - 2520)

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 #2506 – Leaders Must Take Responsibility
As the saying goes, it’s lonely at the top. Blame roles uphill. Great leaders know when to accept that mistakes have been made and take it upon themselves to fix them. It doesn’t matter if one of your team members messed up or you did. If you are the leader, you need to take responsibility.

Lean Tip #2507 – Leaders Listen to the Team
As leaders, sometimes we are so consumed with providing directive, giving orders, and, well, talking that we forget to stop and listen. If the recruitment and training engine is functioning well, you should have a whole team of experts to turn to for advice. One sign of good leadership is knowing that you don’t know everything. Listen and get feedback from your team regularly.

Lean Tip #2508 – Leader Acknowledge – and Even Celebrate – Failure
If your leadership model says, “Failure is not an option,” you may be setting yourself up for not only more failure, but a culture of disappointment and fear. Failure is a vital process of invention, innovation, and risk-taking. If you want a truly extraordinary team, celebrate failure and even encourage it in a controlled, experimental environment.

Lean Tip #2509 – Leaders are Truthful
Honesty really is the best policy. Lying -- and even withholding information -- affects everything and everyone: relationships, decision-making, communication, and more. Team members start to second-guess themselves and the organization, and stop listening. Though honesty is difficult at times, your honesty as a leader is vital to maintaining organizational health.

Lean Tip #2510 – Leaders Establish a Baseline of Excellence.
If you don’t want mediocrity from your team, don’t be mediocre. Whatsoever you do will be watched and emulated, so start with demanding excellence from yourself. Your team will notice, and do their best to keep up.

Leading by example is the fastest way to train a team. When you hold yourself to a high standard, your team will look to gain your approval by doing the same. They will rise to our expectations of excellence, integrity, and respect when you give them the same. And when your team is composed of excellence, you are sure to see success.

Lean Tip #2511 – Leaders, Follow Your Own Rules.
This should go without saying, but do as I say, not as I do is a horrible leadership motto. Don’t bend the rules because you’re the leader. Your dishonesty and hypocrisy will immediately cancel out any authority you’re trying to convey. If you’re not willing to follow the rules, why should anyone else? Establish rules, and stick to them.

Lean Tip #2512 – Leaders Value People
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 #2513 – Leaders are Courageous
When times are tough people respect and follow leaders who step up to the challenges. Take the lead in taking calculated risks that demonstrate commitment to the purpose and strategies of your business.

Lean Tip #2514 – Leaders are Persistent
Setbacks happen to every business, every team and every leader. Role model how to deal with setbacks by reviewing progress and trying a different tack. In doing this you will demonstrate to your team that obstacles don’t mean giving up.

Lean Tip #2515 – Leaders Focus On Solutions
Don’t dwell on problems but move into defining the solutions. Don’t be the first to offer up solutions, but ask thoughtful questions of your team to draw out their insights and ideas. When you are a leader, offering your solutions first will often inhibit other ideas.

Lean Tip #2516 – Lead by Example and Demonstrate that You Can be Trusted.
Nothing speaks more loudly when leaders’ behaviors models their actions.  This not only influences your employees’ actions but can also drive employee results. It is also important that you are consistent. Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk. Do what you say you are going to do, not just sometimes but all the time. This builds trust, not just for today but for years to come.

Lean Tip #2517 – Create Open Lines of Communication
You know better than anyone that the only constant is change. As your company scales, building open lines of communication helps you stay tapped into your employees’ day-to-day realities and shifting needs. Maintaining a high-level view helps you spot the places where they need support, visibility, or a new approach. And when you’re responsive to those fluctuations, your employees will trust that you’re there to empower them.

Lean Tip #2518 – Focus on More Than Profits. 
Leaders should talk less about the bottom-line and more about positive long term impacts for employees. Topics such as job creation, skill development, and career pathways demonstrate a commitment to employee growth. Many believe that CEOs should be personally involved in discussing societal issues. Use every opportunity to have meaningful conversations and place broader employee and societal issues on your agenda.

Lean Tip #2519 – Give Trust to Get Trust
Most people will move mountains to repay this simple but powerful gesture of respect. Regularly give away your authority. If you run a regular operations meeting, rotate the responsibility to develop the agenda and lead the meeting. As often as possible, delegate decision-making to individuals or teams. Any action to show trust by allowing others to decide and act will strengthen their trust in you.

Lean Tip #2520 – Elevate the Voice of Employees.
Trust is a two-way street. You must extend trust in order to gain trust. Results of the survey indicate that employees are often the most trusted advocates to speak on issues related to the business, finance, operations, and staff matters. Extend trust by finding every opportunity to add or expand channels of communication to give those important advocates a voice. Make employee storytelling easy by introducing a digital tool with simple publishing and search capabilities.

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