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Monday, February 13, 2023

Lean Tips Edition #199 (#3196 - #3210)

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 #3196 – Think Positive

You can’t always control life-changing events, but you can control how you respond to them. Rather than dwelling on negative thoughts, accept that change is part of life, and try to see it as an opportunity for personal growth. What can you learn? How will this situation better prepare you for the future? Concentrate on what you ultimately want to achieve, rather than worrying about the obstacles in your way. Try to keep things in perspective, and avoid catastrophizing or feeling helpless or overwhelmed. The more you can face a stressful situation with optimism and positivity, the more resilient you will become – and the better equipped you will be to face the next challenge. 

Lean Tip #3197 - Embrace Change

Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you'll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Resilient people often utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

Lean Tip #3198 - Develop Problem-Solving Skills

Research suggests that people who are able to come up with solutions to a problem tend to cope more productively with stress compared to those who cannot find solutions to problems.8 Whenever you encounter a new challenge, make a quick list of some of the potential ways you could solve the problem.

Experiment with different strategies and focus on developing a logical way to work through common problems. By practicing your problem-solving skills on a regular basis, you will be better prepared to cope when a serious challenge emerges.

Lean Tip #3199 - Take Action

Simply waiting for a problem to go away on its own only prolongs the crisis. Instead, start working on resolving the issue immediately. While there may not be any fast or simple solution, you can take steps toward making your situation better and less stressful.

Focus on the progress that you have made thus far and planning your next steps, rather than becoming discouraged by the amount of work that still needs to be accomplished.

Lean Tip #3200 - Keep Working on Your Skills

Resilience may take time to build, so don't get discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. Everyone can learn to be resilient and it doesn't involve any specific set of behaviors or actions. Resilience can vary dramatically from one person to the next.

Focus on practicing these skills, as well as the common characteristics of resilient people, but also remember to build on your existing strengths.

Lean Tip #3201 - Focus on Goals, Not Tasks

Motivational speaker Les Brown gave one of the best quotes on the importance of goals: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

This is the mindset that executives should impart upon their employees. Effective executives train employees to make the connection between goals and the tasks.

Rather than focusing only on day-to-day tasks, employees must also consider the big picture. How can their tasks be suited to the bigger organization goal? Or their own developmental goals?

Even if employees don’t meet the exact goal, their aim has been high and their achievement is sure to follow.

Lean Tip #3202 – Invest in Employee Development for Real Returns

Employee development of any kind is not free: Either it costs the business money directly, or it costs time invested that could otherwise be spent doing the employee’s core responsibilities. But leaders need to remember that employee development is an investment, and that organizations should expect to see a significant return on that investment over time.

For example, if a manager invests heavily in a mentoring program for team members, they may not see the return straight away. But over time, those employees will develop skills that add value to the organization.

When selecting employee development activities, managers need to be cognizant of the fact that months may be needed for the benefits of those activities to show.

Lean Tip #3203 - Sell Your Vision

It’s your role to set and communicate a strategic direction for the business. Discuss your vision and ask for your people’s help in shaping it.

This gives employees a shared sense of mission and encourages potential leaders to see a future for themselves in the business.

Keep in mind the “what’s in it for me” element. No matter how happy they are in their job, it’s difficult for employees to reach the business owner’s level of engagement.

Lean Tip #3204 - Provide Opportunities for Leadership Development

Make leadership development a part of your business strategy. A leadership plan should cover all levels and indicate when an employee should be ready to move to a higher position.

Formal training can help, but isn’t a substitute for experience and on-the-job learning. Challenging assignments or job rotation develop new abilities, deepen the understanding of the organization and improve confidence.

Lean Tip #3205 - Create Coaching Opportunities.

Great leaders should be good coaches, as well. A large part of coaching is tied to being able to provide effective feedback that is timely, specific, relevant, frequent, and actionable. Providing this type of feedback without micro-managing is a fine line leaders must learn how to walk.

Building positive relationships with team members helps open up opportunities for coaching. People learn better and are more willing to accept criticism from those they trust.

Leaders should look for opportunities to coach staff as part of their day-to-day work. Good coaches listen, ask open-ended questions, offer support, and encourage employees to push for alternative solutions.

Lean Tip #2306 – Connect With Your Team Members.

Leading a group of people requires a mutual sense of trust and understanding between the leader and their team members. To achieve this, leaders should learn to connect.

To build a connection with each of your team members, focus on getting to know their personality, interests, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies and preferences. This can give you insight into their goals and motivations.

Being able to recognize the strengths of individuals within their team, and allowing them to be responsible and accountable, not only increases employees’ confidence in themselves and their leader, but also increases their performance.

Lean Tip #3207 – Encourage Personal and Professional Growth.

Acting as your team’s cheerleader is an important part of being an effective leader. You should be invested in their success and growth.

With options as varied as on-demand, virtual [and] in-person options, there’s ample opportunity to continue learning new skills or further developing existing ones. Empower your employees to take the time to learn and infuse that in the work they do.

To motivate and inspire employees, leadership strategy is about empowering others to do their best and take on new challenges. Employees like challenges and feeling the satisfaction of overcoming them.

When leaders believe in their employees and give them the opportunity to learn and grow, they might be surprised how much they can accomplish. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and encourage freedom and creativity.

Lean Tip #3208 – Teach Employees Instead of Giving Orders.

An effective leader knows how to show others what is required, rather than simply telling them. Leaders should coach their team members toward a more collaborative, committed work environment – without coaxing them.

If you are controlling people to do certain things in certain ways, you’re not going to get the level of engagement that you’re looking for. Coaching is about helping the people you lead recognize the choices they have in front of them. People will then take a great deal of ownership over the direction of the project.

As opposed to simply barking orders at team members, good leaders should encourage growth by teaching. People wouldn’t grow if leaders never taught them anything. Leaders need to be teaching so they can grow new leaders to take their place.

Lean Tip #3209 – Be Open to New Ideas.

Good leaders have the emotional intelligence to understand and accept that change is inevitable. Instead of trying to maintain a status quo just for the sake of consistency, embrace change and innovation. Be open to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the table, and that is something to take advantage of, not discourage.

When you’re open to hearing the thoughts of the talent around you is when you truly embrace every possibility and potential. See things through till the end. Understand that there will be errors along the way, but if something doesn’t work, try to figure out why and how before scrapping it.

When solving a problem, encourage team members to provide their insights. When employees feel like they can openly bring new ideas to the table, true innovation, engagement and success can prevail. 

Lean Tip #3210 – Engage in Honest, Open Communication. 

One of the most important elements of effective leadership is creating an open line of communication with your team members. Your own honesty and transparency should serve as an example for your team members.

When you are responsible for a team of people, it is important to be straightforward. Your company and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior as a key value, your team will follow.

Displaying active communication skills and transparency can build trust among your team and improve overall morale.

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