Lean requires strong leadership and collaboration. The old dictator style of leadership is not Lean. The Lean style of leadership involves the hands on work (non-delegation) of the leader standing side-by-side with the employees in a work environment where it is okay to fail. As Charles Dickens said: “Every failure teaches a man something, if he will learn.” The “leader” who refuses to learn is not a leader.
So, what qualities should a Lean leader have? Outstanding listening and communication skills, the ability to learn from mistakes, and a willingness to empower employees to achieve their goals and obtain success are just a few. Other qualities a leader should have are:
- A Lean leader is trusted
- A Lean leader is concerned and care about others
- A Lean leader focuses on results and relationships with employees
- A Lean leader is ethical
- A Lean leader does not hold employees back
- A Lean leader keeps his ego in check; he is not a know-it-all
- A Lean leader motivates every employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision
- A Lean leader has the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance
- A Lean leader creates a culture of accountability
- A Lean leader makes decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.
Businesses with leaders who have the above qualities are more successful.They have recognized the value of Lean leadership.As a result, they have higher profitability, productivity, and quality (fewer defects); lower turnover; less absenteeism and shrinkage (i.e., theft); and fewer safety incidents.
What kind of leader are you? Are you a Lean leader?