Sometimes I am asked this question when some persons realize that our proposal for Lean implementation includes Leadership as a strong component of the whole process. Through the years, even when our initial offer was focused on TPM, it has been recognized that unless there is a healthy leadership environment, the projects definitely do not produce as much result or experience enough sustainability if any.
Leadership is exactly the art or skill (or both), to survive by interacting with other people. Of course it is not simple or easy. That is why we consider this a key in the success of any implementation. People who become leaders will enjoy success and be very valuable to the enterprise and themselves.
Leaders provide teams the right environment to flourish and mature. They guide the wills of people in the right direction and share the winnings and the pride. This strengthens the bonding in the team and creates a synergy where no one will shy away from providing their best effort for the accomplishment of the team’s purpose.
A very common barrier that I have found in most cases where the Leadership Culture is not strong is the “Attachment to Power.” Any person who has enjoyed the flavor of “Authority and Command” knows how hard it may be to not only share that but in many cases give it up! Delegation of the Power comes from the self confidence of the leader. A weak leader will never give any opportunity to someone else that in turn might and could show to be stronger. Weak leaders are everywhere
They are people who have arrived to a certain position of authority and command just because they were doing their jobs very well or because they have been for a long time with the organization. Then the lack of preparation for the new position is evident to them and others. They simply stay put and their own leader, just as others; do not invest enough time and effort to make them capable and functional in the new position. This “culture” is so extended that it creates a general underperformance environment which debilitates the structure of companies to the point that it makes most others think it is OK to under perform.
A Leadership Initiative
Leaders must switch gears NOW! – This is a terrible time for mediocrity for several reasons:
It becomes evident with ease. We are in such a competitive environment that unless a leader keeps the pace of progress, he or she can contribute to the debacle of the organization. This is a time to become aware of these situations and step in bringing a clear solution to the teams.
Being “somewhat-committed” will not suffice at this time. Forgiving or Denial attitudes in our top or mid-level leaders may be sending a wrong message to the whole organization.
Tolerance, as I have said a number of times, is the mother of mediocrity. Mediocrity is something that will not help us to survive.
Drastic changes are in order to keep up with the sudden, violent transformation that we are just starting to live and, believe me, this will pale in front of what we will have to face in a very near future.
Changes not necessarily mean terminating poor leaders; actually they are not at fault of their precarious situation.
What is needed now is for all leaders, beginning from the top, to get their hands dirty and come do some work that may have been left undone.
Making decisions is an act of criteria and maturity. The main problem that prevents this from being effective is the natural fact that the old leader tries to keep making the decisions, not giving the new upgraded individual the opportunity to act, fail, and correct, just as we did in our opportunity. The raw truth is no one really learns from having their decisions made by the top leaders. It is harder but more effective and efficient to proceed in the trial and error mode. The wisdom of the top leaders is to administer the decision making tasks in a gradual manner, so the new leaders experience on their own and learn from their successes and mistakes.
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