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Monday, June 3, 2024

Lean Tips Edition #300 (#3526 - #3540)

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 #3526 – Increase Accountability by Linking Responsibilities to Purpose

One way to increase accountability in the workplace is to help individuals realize the impact that they have. Every organization has a goal or mission, and professionals who can link their individual actions to that greater mission may feel an increased sense of purpose and responsibility. Individuals may feel more accountable doing smaller tasks, like filling out spreadsheets or sorting files, if they have a complete understanding of the purpose of that smaller task.

Lean Tip #3527 – Increase Accountability by Creating a Safe Space for Growth

Besides taking credit for successes, personal accountability can also include taking responsibility for mistakes. Workplaces that are committed to helping individuals correct accidental mistakes may create a culture of support and learning that makes it easier for individuals to take responsibility for their actions. This can help those individuals to try new ideas and take on new responsibilities with the confidence that their workplace can support them through their period of growth and learning.

Lean Tip #3528 – Increase Accountability by Encouraging Mutual Respect 

A key aspect of accountability is holding respect for those around you. This may involve following through on agreed-upon actions and expressing trust that others may do the same. Companies should allow their employees more freedom in their work or schedule as a method of establishing this trust and helping individuals to develop accountability.

This can work because it increases the amount of ownership that individuals have over their work, which may lead to an increased sense of personal responsibility for that work. Prioritizing being on time can be a great way to foster accountability. This may demonstrate that you respect the schedule of the person with whom you're meeting, which can help to establish mutual respect.

Lean Tip #3529 – Increase Accountability by Evaluating Your Teammates’ Progress

Setting goals is great – but it is impossible to establish accountability in the workplace without evaluating the progress of your team. Feedback is the backbone of evaluating progress in the workplace. Your employees’ feedback on where they are in realizing their goals is just as important as your feedback on the means of attaining those goals. Where there is always room to learn and to grow, make sure that you put a focus on positive reinforcement and motivating your employees to keep moving towards their goals.

Lean Tip #3530 – Increase Accountability by Providing Opportunities for Improvement

A major contributing factor to accountability in the workplace is you, as a manager, investing in your employee’s development. In doing so, you and the team as a whole will certainly reap the benefits as you continue to grow by acquiring new knowledge and adapting best practices. It is important that you make it clear to your employees that you have a genuine interest and willingness in supporting their professional development. Knowing that you are investing time in your employees’ success is going to motivate them to continue learning and growing, making them even more of an asset to the organization.

Lean Tip #3531 – Create a Safe and Supportive Environment

The starting point for productive idea sharing is creating an atmosphere where your team feels comfortable. Nobody will share their ideas if they think they’ll be shown up or embarrassed for doing so. You need to inspire open and honest communication in your team to create an environment where people want to share ideas. This means committing to transparency, providing support to team members, and really listening when people share.

Lean Tip #3532 – Encourage a Culture of Continuous Learning

Your team should be encouraged – and provided with the support for – ongoing learning and growth. In order for a culture of learning to really take root, your team needs a certain level of curiosity. Fortunately, this is something that most people have by the bucketful, to the point that some scientists see it as “innate in all humans — a sensation much like hunger or thirst.” Your role at work is to direct that innate curiosity into productive innovation by offering your team the time, space, and resources they need to thrive. 

Lean Tip #3533 – Encourage Personal Ownership of Ideas

In the same way your team should be accountable as a group, you should also encourage team members to take ownership of their individual ideas. This doesn’t mean blocking other people’s input and support but instead encouraging individuals to stand firm behind their suggestions and solutions.

This is especially important when the idea does not impact the whole team or company since each individual should feel empowered to carry ideas forward within the scope of their own work. Management can help by offering support and mentorship as needed –through formal programs and less formal knowledge sharing.

Lean Tip #3534 – Foster a Culture of Feedback and Improvement

Ideas shared without feedback limit the value an individual and a team can take from them. It curbs a person’s professional growth by removing an opportunity to learn from their successes and failures. As well as providing feedback yourself, you should also encourage open and honest feedback on ideas and implementation from the entire team.

Part of this needs to include providing team members with the time and space to reflect so they can take learnings from feedback and use it as part of their ongoing professional development. This time also allows your team members to reflect and give feedback on their own work, which can be equally as valuable for creative ideas sharing.

Don’t let feedback languish in email accounts and chat threads; actively implement it into your projects and processes. This draws value from it as well as shows your team that engaging in honest feedback is taken seriously.

Lean Tip #3535 – Reward Employee Creativity

A great way to build team collaboration is to incentivize employees when they offer new ideas. A little healthy competition can stoke more creativity as employees push themselves to think outside the box while working towards a prize. And it doesn’t really matter what form your contest takes. Whether it’s between individuals or teams, your people will often be more excited to share their ideas as long as they’re properly motivated.

Lean Tip #3536 – Ask Questions to Foster Ideas

Asking questions from your employees is the quickest way to generate new ideas. It helps in teaching deeper thinking across all employees. It empowers the employees to look at even routine tasks and think if they can be done more quickly. That leads to innovative thinking across the company.

Lean Tip #3537 – Listen to Both Good and Bad Ideas

If you're not willing to hear what your staff have to share, don't make the promise to listen to them. You must be ready to receive both favorable and negative feedback.

If an employee is persistent about an idea that you don’t think is feasible, you still need to consider it seriously. No matter how incredible it may sound at first, an idea can still contain workable elements that you can use in more practical applications.

Lean Tip #3538 – Show Your Team You’re Engaged

If your employees feel that you don’t pay attention when they speak, or that you don’t value their thoughts and opinions, they’ll shut down.

Demonstrate engagement by being present during meetings. This includes making eye contact and shutting your laptop. It’s easy to get distracted by emails or text messages during a meeting—but these small acts of disengagement can negatively impact your team’s psychological safety.

Engagement also means listening to what others have to say. Practice active listening. Ask questions to make sure you understand the other person’s ideas or opinions. By actively engaging, you create an environment where people feel it’s only OK to speak up; in fact, it’s encouraged and accepted.

Lean Tip #3539 – Avoid Blaming to Build Trust

It’s easy when something goes awry to look for someone to blame. But, to build and maintain psychological safety in the workplace, focus on solutions.

Instead of “What happened and why?” ask “How can we make sure this goes better next time? Notice the focus on the collaborative language: How can we make sure this goes smoothly next time? We statements turn the responsibility into a group effort, rather than singling out an individual for a mistake.

Lean Tip #3540 – Nip Negativity in the Bud

If you have a team member who speaks negatively about peers, talk to them about it. Be clear; let them know that you work together as a team and negativity will not be tolerated.

When leaders allow negativity to stand, it can become contagious and spread to others. Employees will think that either they’re supposed to talk bad about others, or that others are probably talking about them. In, either case, it’s a psychological safety killer.

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