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Monday, June 6, 2022

Lean Tips Edition #188 (#3031-#3045)

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 #3031 – Be an Open and an Effective Communicator.

Open and effective communication is a key reason for a leader's success. Being an effective communicator is more than just being able to convey a message that is clear; it also means being a good listener, checking for understanding and paying attention to the non-verbal signs. Openness allows the employee to be more engaged in the workplace and it's a great way of deepening your relationship with the employee. It creates loyalty, mutual respect and a positive work environment. Employees want to feel like they are part of the bigger picture. 

Lean Tip #3032 – Don't Set Your Employees Up to Fail.

No employee wants to fail at their jobs or worse yet, know or feel like their leaders are setting them up to fail. As a leader, you must make sure that you set clear expectations and have an open two-way line of communication with your employees. Yes, it's important to hold your employees accountable, but don't let that escalate out of control. Don't let bad situations become an opportunity to use an employee as a scapegoat for your failure. When a mistake happens, own it -- and don't place blame. Remember: Leadership starts with you.

Lean Tip #3033 – Consistently Follow Through on Your Commitments.

Trust requires predictability. If another person perceives a leader as unpredictable, unstable, or unreliable, then trust will be limited or non-existent. The best way to establish trust is by keeping your words and actions in sync with one another. For example, don’t commit to something you aren’t able to do.

Effective leaders know that to build trust they must deliver on promises and commitments. Those who overpromise and underdeliver quickly become seen as disingenuous or worse, a fraud. Respect and belief in someone can’t develop in conditions of disappointment and low morale. But, when a leader shows consistency and proves their words have value, trust grows.

Lean Tip #3034 – Quickly Admit and Amend Mistakes When They’re Made.

As a leader, there will be times when you drop the ball and disappoint people. Failure is a part of life. An important aspect of building trust is ownership of errors. When a person in power can’t admit in their role a mistake or point fingers at other people, they automatically withdraw from their trustworthy account. This is because they’re not acting with accountability, and therefore integrity. As best-selling author and world-famous speaker Simon Sinek once said, “Trust has two dimensions: competence and integrity. We will forgive mistakes of competence. Mistakes of integrity are harder to overcome.”

Leaders who own their failures also teach team members how to get back up when they fall. They’re the first in the room to address their mistakes and take action to make amends in whatever way that’s needed. Additionally, they show their team that failure is to be expected at a progressive company. This attitude eliminates perfectionism in the workplace and creates a seat at the table for creativity and innovation.

Lean Tip #3035 – Eliminate Judgment From Work Environments.

The fastest way to suppress creativity and innovation is to be judgmental. Judgment takes many forms because it can be communicated non-verbally and verbally. Whether it’s a dismissive comment or negative body language like rolling your eyes and shaking your head, it’s easily perceived by those who fall victim to it. Once a person experiences judgment, they tend to feel insecure and shy away from sharing their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Oftentimes judgment occurs when a person avoids having a direct conversation. Instead of talking about a person, talk to them. As Walt Whitman once said, “Be curious, not judgmental.” Before breaking a person’s trust and causing them to feel small, engage in a conversation. Ask them why they think the way they do, what influences their opinion, and listen with an open mind. Create the space to dig deeper into a place of understanding.

Lean Tip #3036 – If You Say You’ll Do It, Do It

If you cancel at the last minute, fail to show up, or miss a deadline, people will instantly wonder if you’ll do it again. You’ve planted that seed. If you make a habit of it, then people will learn that this is your normal behavior and will instinctively not count on you to follow through with commitments.

Lean Tip #3037 – Ask Others to Share

In some instances, people are happy to share, but they need to be asked. They don’t want to impose, but if they’re invited to participate (in a brainstorming session, a review, or personal conversation) they may be keen to. You’ll get people to share more (and confide in you more) if only you’d ask.

Lean Tip #3038 – Invest in Your Employees' Development

If you manage others, part of your job is to help your direct reports grow by gaining new skills and sharpening the skills they already have. To do that though, you have to provide them with honest feedback—a combination of praise and constructive criticism—on a regular basis.

Performance reviews are another opportunity to build trust with your direct reports. People tend to trust leaders who make them feel valued. By asking your employees what you can be doing to better support their work, you'll not only solidify a good work relationship but also boost their level of engagement.

Lean Tip #3039 – Share Information With Coworkers

Being perceived as a team player by your coworkers builds trust, but you have to take steps to shape your image.

Let's say you attended an industry conference. Rather than hogging all you learned so that only you can benefit, sharing what you learned with your peers can help establish credibility as a team player.

But it's important to have the right intentions. If your goal is to bolster your colleagues' and peers' professional development and successes, you'll build trust. But if you're just sharing because you want something in return, odds are your peers are going to pick up on that and trust you less.

Lean Tip #3040 –  Give Coworkers Praise When It's Due

One way to cultivate authentic relationships with your peers is to praise their work. Give credit to others, and you'll be seen as gracious, just as long as you're being genuine in your praise. Furthermore, you need to be prompt in your praising. A team meeting, for example, is a natural setting to celebrate a coworker's big career achievement or say thank you for someone's help with a project. Don't wait until a month after the fact, or when nobody is around, to let your coworker know you appreciate them.

Lean Tip #3041 – Build Diverse and Inclusive Teams

It is important that we focus on creating diverse teams rather than teams of all like-minded people. A group of people with different backgrounds are more likely to bring diverse perspectives and ideas to the table. With more perspectives, comes more thorough decision making. We often tend to want to surround ourselves with people who think and act in ways that reflect our own thoughts and actions. While a group of like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds may get along great, we have to think about the bigger picture – Will they bring fresh ideas to the table?

Lean Tip #3042 – Build Trust Within the Team

It’s difficult to work productively with somebody that you don’t trust. For this reason, trust is a dire need if you want to lead a successful team. Trust between team members can flourish by doing something as simple as attending a happy hour together, participating in simple team-building activities, or simply eating lunch together. It’s important to encourage team members to interact with each other outside of their work together. Not only will this build trust, but it will also likely increase employee morale and job satisfaction – work is more enjoyable when you enjoy the people you work with.

Lean Tip #3043 – Encourage Clear, Frequent Communication

As the saying goes, communication is key! Though this sounds like basic knowledge, it’s often passed over when analyzing how to improve teamwork in the workplace. We know that maintaining clear, frequent communication – especially with large and/or remote teams – is easier said than done. Clear and frequent communication will ensure that all team members are on the same page, leading to more accurate work being completed on a shorter timeline. Strong communication also helps to build trust between team members, thus improving the overall performance of the team.

Lean Tip #3044 – Give Teams Autonomy in Decision-making

Trusting your team members with making their own decisions is important in building trust and improving teamwork. Oftentimes, if people don’t have the autonomy and power to make decisions regarding their own work, they will begin to resent their work, thus hindering the work of the entire team. In order to keep team members engaged and working hard, it’s important to provide all members with the freedom to make their own decisions.

Lean Tip #3045 – Provide the Team With Learning Opportunities

How to work on a team may sound obvious to some people, but it does not come naturally for everyone. To maximize the benefits of teamwork in the workplace, it is important to provide your team with proper training and guidance. Providing learning opportunities will not only enhance teamwork skills, but will also increase employees’ engagement and job satisfaction. Workshops and qualified guest speakers from outside of the organization are a great way to ensure that all team members understand the importance of teamwork in the workplace as well as how to be an effective team member.


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