Monday, May 17, 2021

Lean Tips Edition #171 (#2776-#2790)

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 #2776 - Focus on Alignment.

A key part of managing your team is to ensure that they understand how their jobs and actions directly align to business goals. Knowing how and why what they do matters to the company as a whole helps to create a sense of shared responsibility, and can improve employee engagement in significant ways. Transparency with your team about goals also helps workers understand that targets are not arbitrarily chosen.

Lean Tip #2777 - Manage by Trust, Not by Fear

A healthy workplace is one where the key energy is trust, while where fear predominates is a fear-based workplace. You’ll see employees run away from a place that is managed by fear. Where managers use the power of their position to control their team. Management by Fear is Simply Not a Successful Strategy in Business. You do not have to be such kind of manager. Because no business can afford to lose a team member, so let it be the trust that keeps the team together and not fear.

Lean Tip #2778 - Empower Teams and Do Not Micromanage

What does empower mean? Empowerment is exactly defined as the process to enable an individual to behave, act, and control activities in an independent way. If you are managing an un-empowered workforce, you’re probably a bad manager. Likewise, managers seem to do a blunder by micromanaging. Google’s manager research revealed that good managers empower their teams by giving them opportunities to grow.  Micromanagement is one quality that frustrates employees. So, focus on giving the right balance of freedom and advice to your team.

Lean Tip #2779 – Spread Positivity

You’d never realize it, but the psyche of your employees is what you can change—change the overall working environment. Though many of you may not consider it a part of the project manager role, when you play you’ll see the difference. It’s true that whatever vibe you walk in with, your people will pick it up. So, if you’re positive and energetic, your team will more likely to feel that way. Keep projecting a positive attitude, because happier employees are more productive, more creative, and create a more winning working environment.

Lean Tip #2780 - Point out Other People’s Potential

It is evident that every employee is different having their own set of experiences, values, beliefs, and cultural backgrounds. The best leaders identify and appreciate the differences that individuals bring to the table and understands how to put them to full use. When managing, always be mindful of pushing your teams so they see full potential in themselves to increase their performance. Talk to them about their strengths or find an efficient process they’re more likely to love it. If you want to build upon some of your project management skills, learn to bring out the potential of your people. 

Lean Tip #2781 – Respond Instead of Reacting.

A common behavior when presented with a challenge is to let your emotions drive the situation. We all have a fight-or-flight reaction when we feel unsafe. Incorporate a technique into your workplace culture that will help you take a moment to respond instead of reacting. A responsive solution may take a little more time in the beginning, but it can save you the hours of cleanup for a reactive action to the challenge.

Lean Tip #2782 – Build Trust to Reduce Fear

Building trust takes time. It is not usually a one-time event. You can build trust by maintaining authentic interactions during daily work activities. One highly effective way to build trust is to make sure that verbal commitments and behaviors match the actions. For example, if your company identifies in the mission that the organization is a friendly or caring place, then employees would want to exemplify this behavior as a measure of the authenticity of the individual. Or an employee who commits to completing a task at a particular time would want to either complete the work on time or communicate the change in timelines. When you give employees a culture that maintains trust, you reduce fractures to the organization. Leaders who exhibit an authentic alignment of words to actions give employees a place where they can focus on the work instead of the breakdowns in behaviors.

Lean Tip #2783 – Maintain a Process.

A process offers employees a roadmap for what they need to do, how they need to do it, and when it should be done. You reduce fear at work when employees have this process-driven roadmap in place to monitor workloads and timelines. The process provides an organized sense of movement that gives constant feedback and accountability of individuals for each part of the project.

Lean Tip #2784 – Never Shrug Someone Off

When two parties cannot agree on a mutual solution, we call it an impasse. Impasses happen all the time and aren’t worth overreacting to, but you can create fear when you determine to go separate ways when you can agree on a solution. The next time that person thinks you don’t agree with them, they could avoid the discussion altogether. For you to be an effective leader, you need people to know for a fact that even if they reach an impasse with you, a professional conclusion will follow.

Instead of shrugging them off, become both a student and a teacher, and ask your partner to do the same. You are at an impasse because you have different information, goals or opinions. Often, a logical and mutually beneficial conclusion will emerge by way of mutual understanding or compromise.

Lean Tip #2785 – Acknowledge an Idea Before Accepting or Rejecting It

In group settings, it’s common for someone to raise an idea just to be quickly shut down. The embarrassment attached to being shut down in front of everyone can be tremendous, and can even be enough to cause them to choose to never raise an idea again. This is stifling to an organization, and instantly creates a culture of fear.

First, acknowledge the idea. This proves that the person is valuable and the idea has value (even if not enough to actually accept), and that raising ideas is simply a part of the process. Others will build comfort and confidence purely through observation. Then the idea can be accepted or rejected based on objective or subjective criteria, whichever is more appropriate. Not only have you prevented from introducing fear into the workplace, you’ve subtly trained everyone in the room how to pre-qualify their ideas before raising them — ultimately improving the productivity of the rest of the session.

Lean Tip #2786 – A Good Manager Always Listens and Communicates

Listening might sound cliché or a vague concept. Quoting Andy Stanley, “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” As a manager, you have to strike a balance between giving instruction and listening to feedback. Being in this position of privilege doesn’t mean that you have monotony of knowledge, rather the buck of decision making stops with you. Your employees and the folks under you are the ones bringing the vision to life while you are providing overall direction to this vision. If you don’t listen, there is a high chance that you will get disjointed from the process and progress of this vision.

Lean Tip #2787 – Effective Management Means Taking Responsibility

Most new managers find it difficult to assume responsibility when things don’t pan out as they hoped, for example, a late deadline, an undelivered or under-delivered work item, or a project that didn’t go according to plan. Whatever the scenario is, it is crucial that you hold yourself to the same high standards that you hold other team members. If it was a failed team effort, be the first to assume responsibility instead of shifting blame onto others. This will make your employees respect you and also stand up for you in the future.

Lean Tip #2788 – Be at the Forefront of Problem Solving

Being a manager and a leader requires an affinity for solving problems and providing direction at the most crucial times. At an impasse, there is often a tendency by managers to pass on responsibility to employees, especially when things aren’t going as planned. Some go as far as hogging all the glory when positive results come back. Resolving problems requires that you be at the forefront of accountability, even when things are tough.

Lean Tip #2789 – Focus on Alignment.

A key part of managing your team is to ensure that they understand how their jobs and actions directly align with business goals. Knowing how and why what they do matters to the company as a whole helps to create a sense of shared responsibility, and can improve employee engagement in significant ways. Transparency with your team about goals also helps workers understand that targets are not arbitrarily chosen.

Lean Tip #2790 – The People You Manage are a Direct Reflection on You.

How well your direct reports perform can be a reflection of your effectiveness as a leader.

The best leaders groom employees and help them grow. In addition to overseeing others’ work, you now have a hand in their career development. Take the time to learn about your team members’ short-term and longer-term goals. Explore ways in which you can help them reach those goals.

Offer support that helps them develop new skills and elevates their performance. It takes more time than just downloading a to-do list, but you will end up with a more engaged, successful employee — which is a great reflection on you as a manager.

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