Does Your Leadership Style Create Management Waste?
When improving an operation, most people only look at the process. They seldom dive into the manager’s role in running that process. Often, the way a leader behaves can have a substantial impact on how smoothly a process can flow. Watch out for…
Managers batching approvals. Most managers do approvals one of two ways. The ‘drop it in my box and I’ll get to it when I can’ method, or the ‘I’ll approve these every Wednesday morning’ method. Both increase waste, and both greatly delay lead time. A better way is real-time approvals. The best way is to standardize the decision making process, and empower the frontline teams.
Managers changing the pace. A process should take ‘X’ minutes, not ‘X’ minutes normally, but ‘Y’ minutes when things are busy. Workload should not dictate pace! Team members should never, ever have busy days. Every day should be consistent.
Managers changing the rules. Teams should have a clear expectation of what a manger will do in any given situation. A team member should never feel blind-sided by a manager’s decision-making process. If an operation doesn’t have consistency, it can’t improve.
Static staffing. A manager, especially in an office setting, who has the same staff all the time has one of two problems. They are facing an incredibly long backlog of work. That means long lead times. Or, they are facing teams that slow down when there is not enough work to go around. Good daily management lets bosses pull people out of the process on the fly to work on projects or with other teams that need immediate help.
Invisible managers. Teams should see their managers in the work area regularly. That doesn’t mean in the bosses office nearby, or in their cubicle in the corner. It means walking through the gemba (work area, or ‘real place’. It means sitting with their team on occasion and watching the process. It means asking questions.