It is important for workplaces to enable their employees to engage their creative sense in finding solutions for various challenges. A team of employees with a problem-solving mindset can push the organization to great heights. Many employees often find it difficult to get their leaders to engage with their ideas, so the ideas just “fizzle out”.
Lean learning enables you to clearly grasp various aspects of leadership. You soon appreciate that leadership is more about commitment than being in a position of power.
Firstly, a committed leader will themselves seek to find out what ideas their subordinates have with regard to solving a particular problem. Secondly, as long as you are qualified for your role, your leaders should have enough confidence that you can come up with innovative solutions and implement them yourself.
Lean transformation and problem-solving must involve your leaders. The question is: How do you engage them without stalling your team’s progress? Here’s how:
- Quit asking for support but rather make clear, purposeful, and precise requests for action. Asking for support, in most cases, has a vague aspect to it. When your leaders do not capture and internalize your idea immediately, they are less likely to take it seriously. Most managers always want clarity of expectation and will shoot down ideas whose process or outcome is vague.
- With vague requests, managers may say yes because they believe in you, but the support they provide might not be what you are looking for. Note that they will expect results after having trusted you and your ideas, and they’ll believe they provided what you asked for. Neither leaders nor team members will get what they want.
- To ensure your progress is not stalled by vagueness or lack of trust by your leaders, find ways to make your requests very specific and clear. Explore every aspect of your idea, and formulate processes and desired outcomes. No good leader will decline requests to explore well-formulated ideas when positive results seem viable.
- When the time for discussion and deliberation comes, start with explaining the purpose of the idea. Leaders may be initially apprehensive of ideas that solve problems or bring improvement. The outcome you are seeking to achieve with your new discovery, invention, or idea should be outlined in bold. Your leaders are more likely to want to be involved if you are suggesting a major improvement of the current state. Once they’ve seen the purpose and agreed to the initiative, get them to commit to direct engagement. Only an uncommitted leader will pass up on the opportunity to bring forth solutions to the organization’s problems.
- Having a clear outline in your mind of your transformational programs will help you suggest many improvements. For you, the best part is the improvements you create will develop you as a person and team member.
About Lean Learning Center
The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.