Virginia Roberson, one of our industrial content experts, is on a fact-finding mission to surface the technologies and trends impacting manufacturers and to share what she discovers along the way.
In a previous INDUSTRY article we discussed how lean best practices have helped manufacturers respond more quickly to COVID-19 changes, from supply chain disruptions to new demands from customers.
Taking it one step further, let’s get into a key component of lean: respect. According to a Harvard Business Review study, more than 20,000 U.S. employees report an increase in disrespectful workplace behavior every year. The article notes that respect is one of the most important tools for growth and performance improvement.
What does respect mean to lean? Lean practitioners use “respect” in their training, but not everyone perceives respect the same way.
The aforementioned study identifies two types of respect:
- Owed respect, which is generally given by management to all employees, who they perceive as all wanting to be treated equally.
- Earned respect, which recognizes individual workers who have demonstrated valued qualities or behavior.
As lean practitioners, we need to find a respectful common ground. According to a recent IndustryWeek article, people often confuse respect with being nice. The problem with “nice” is that it doesn’t provide the feedback employees need to learn and improve. Lean leaders should offer constructive criticism, but it should be respectful.
This respect works hand in hand with teamwork, per the Toyota Way:
- Respect for others, where everyone in the organization works to understand each other, takes personal responsibility, and works to build mutual trust.
- Teamwork, which promotes professional and personal growth, creates shared opportunities, and maximizes individual and team performance.
Demonstrating respect and making everyone in the organization feel like they are part of the same team is an essential lean skill. Master respect, and you’re on your way to mastering lean.
Stay lean, my industrial friends.
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