We are therefore faced with the dichotomy of a system that has both over-intimate management, fire-fighting on a daily basis, combined with remote 'problem solving', which leads to demotivated and frustrated team members and, at best, average Operational Performance.
Learning from the laws of the game of Football (and most Sports), we need to build a System where the Leaders of the Organisation can work to set the Vision, Mission and Values of the Organisation and its Strategic Objectives. Then, by working with their teams, they deploy these Objectives into Goals with clear deliverables that are cascaded throughout the Organisation and, through the training and development of their staff, build the overall Organisational Capability that will support the creation of a High Performance Culture.
However, crucially, they must allow their People to do the work and Problem solve, without 'telling' them what to do. This is not to say that we should ban Managers from going to the Gemba, quite the contrary, we want them there more than they are on average, but what we need is for them to coach, not try to play the game for their Team.
This requires a different skill-set and mindset than most Managers have developed throughout their careers, changing their role from being the most experienced and expert of the team (or at least thinking that), able to tell everyone how to fix the problems, to a coaching role, asking the right questions to enable the team to solve their problems in a structural way. Most importantly, they need to allow their people to make mistakes and learn from them, doing things differently than they would personally prefer.
"Most importantly, they need to allow their people to make mistakes and learn from them, doing things differently than they would personally prefer."
This is True Leadership, as it is the only way that an individual can have the scale of impact that is necessary to drive high business performance; getting results through the enablement of others' skills, as opposed to by telling them what to do.
This takes a leap of faith for the individual manager, facing a perceived loss of control and a fear that performance will spiral out of control without their explicit intervention and direction. It is true that, if control has been the norm in the organisation or group then a complete change overnight is not advisable, as the team will not have the requisite organisational capability. Nevertheless, the change in behaviour and ways-of-working has to begin and make significant progress whilst we build the capability and trust.
Moving to a Coaching Leadership style will not be easy. However, it is essential if you are to achieve the success that you want for your organisation.
There are many Lean Leadership Books out there but I have reviewed those that I think are of most use on my Book Recommendations page.
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