Lean Leadership is a system of tools, principles, and structures tasked with meeting customer needs by linking management with process improvement and best practices. The total support of executive management is critical to succeeding thereof. Lean was put into force by a lot of illustrious contributors but it was brought into the mainstream only at the Toyota Production System.
While undertaking a Lean Transformation mission it should be kept in mind that improving the process alone doesn’t guarantee long-term sustainability. It doesn’t ensure continuous improvement. It is critical on the part of leadership to play a direct role in helping the team adapt to the Lean system. The focus should be on mindset shifting and positive behaviours.
It is very important to create an environment wherein the team may raise issues without the fear of criticism. Teams should be encouraged to contribute wherever they feel like and should not be restricted to only a particular task. Team camaraderie by direct involvement of the line managers should be prioritized. Proper and consistent mentoring bring tremendous results. And the big picture should always be in mind.
Leaders realize change is difficult and require dedication and work. It requires prioritization, clearly defined Objectives, and Key Results. It is incumbent on the leaders to share their vision and exhibit positive and affirmative behaviour. Consistent and regular communication is essential in driving a change initiative. While implementing Lean, a coaching mindset can instigate new skills in employees. They start connecting the dots and come up with unique insights. They own up to their responsibilities and embrace greater leadership.
While investing time and money in a Lean Transformation, the key lies in leaders making positive and authentic connections with their team and help in their growth.
You don’t start from what you want people to do. You start from what people want to do. The leaders should emulate the behaviours they want the subordinates to have. Goals should be clearly defined. They should be measurable. And a clear roadmap for actions has to be there. A leader’s behaviour should be exhorting and should drive the team for further action. Accountability should be a regular practice. A coaching and mentoring approach makes all the difference. Central to inspiring leadership is the ability to improve employee’s thinking. It helps to be less directive and more supportive of the people’s thought processes.
In the long term, to effect sustainable and positive individual behaviour new ideas should be celebrated. An action-oriented culture does the miracle.
Using Lean methods with a focus on the processes of change, and a focus on growing employee mindset help sustain long-term change. Positive connections are the glue that binds it together.
With a demonstrated Lean Leadership practice, we are proud to have made a difference in many organizations working cultures. Do drop in with your organization’s pressing need and we would be glad in providing our expertise.