In a Lean organization, effectiveness is the result of the organization’s ability to work together in teams – up and down the hierarchy. To be successful it is critical that all teams are empowered to make decisions, organize themselves and improve within a structured framework.
In this empowered environment, managers and supervisors play a vital role.
In addition to their technical skills, the managers and supervisors have two additional responsibilities that are key to the development of a continuous improvement culture:
- First, they are the working link between the management team and the field teams. Constantly called upon, they pass along priorities that come from the management team and manage their field teams’ activities in the execution of those priorities. In this role, the supervisor is a mentor, coach and teacher, focused on helping field team members to improve every day in pursuit the organization’s objectives. They are also responsible for passing information back up to the management team, thus connecting them to the improvement activities. This closed-loop communication ensures the effort remains on track and connected to the organization’s priorities.
- Second, they are members of their own teams made up of counterparts that work together to manage their activities and facilitate continuous improvement projects that deliver performance in terms of quality, cost and time.
The four missions of a manager can be described as follows:
- To develop and inspire the Lean vision of processes
- To give direction and manage performance
- To facilitate continuous improvement
- To coach and support their team members
In this empowered environment of concentric teams, the primary role of the manager and supervisor turns from that of “doer” to that of “mentor”. They must create the framework that allows field team members to act freely in deciding how to do their work, address problems, and develop. This can often be a difficult transition.
Productivity works with managers and supervisors in on-the-job skill development sessions to help them acquire the skills they need to master their role. Our skill development sessions develop an understanding of problem-solving, standard work, daily management, and other fundamental Lean ways of working while improving their confidence to lead. Sessions also cover recognition systems, pay-for-performance, team evolution, performance of value flows, measurements and auditing, and more.
Confident leaders produce confident team members leading them to be more and more effective in their daily work. Managers and supervisors are the linchpin to creating a culture of improvement. Let us help you develop their talent.