What do you base your opinion of high performance supervision on?
For almost 30 years, I have both served as a trainer for work team leaders and formally been responsible for their development. I have learned the hard way about what works and what does not when it comes to work leader training.
Most importantly, I can both empathize with the daily challenges that a team leader faces on the front lines and push them towards higher levels of performance. I have helped over 200 front line leaders improve their performance at work to-date. I am very proud of some of my success stories.
Additionally, I have seen the downside of what happens when you simply send work team leaders to a two or three day “skills development” workshop and ask them to change. This approach, simply put, will not work!
In order to get consistent and effective tool use, you have to do two things. First, you must require each supervisor to demonstrate tool use over time and develop new habits. Second, each work team leader must redesign their jobs to create time for tool practice and use.
In other words, one must require proven change. You must provide time to help make that change happen, and coach them as they practice. People need help to learn those skills that they did not receive through their formal education.
Buy my 182-page ‘Facilitating and Leading Teams’ workbook at amazon.com
What is the most “critical factor” that makes an improvement initiative successful?
This is a tough question, because I am torn between two possible answers. An improvement initiative will not succeed if leaders fail to allocate time towards it.
Such time, if allocated, also must be used effectively. Many organizations allocate such time on paper (in a strategic plan, job description, or expense budget for example).
Unfortunately, they fail to require EACH leader to show how they personally use this time to improve the key processes they own. If I could only change one thing, I would change what I expect from each of my leaders.
Most people will find a way to reach a goal if a leader clearly states that goal, along with meaningful consequences for failing to achieve that goal.
LEARN MORE: How Effective are Your Work Systems?
How can you develop effective work team leaders?
As with any type of supervision or process ownership, you should use a balanced set of metrics to track leadership behavior and task effectiveness. Provide a ‘bottom up’ Leadership Index to each work team leader at least once a year as a behavior effectiveness metric.
Plus, hold your process owners responsible for their own safety, cost, quality, and people metrics. Each process they own produces a VARIETY of key measures over time. Evidence of improvement includes key performance indicator (KPI) trend lines and balanced scorecards.
Also, I expect each of my work team leaders to provide a monthly update. This update includes a key project list for their processes and a monthly summary of their key accomplishments and challenges.
A performance summary spreadsheet that shows DAILY process inputs and outputs is also part of the monthly package. Each work team leader is expected to spend 30-60 minutes a day on these items.
Ideally, each leader uses a spreadsheet to compile and organize this work. A simple look at the spreadsheet allows others to review their progress at any time.
Finally, each leader posts results trend lines in their process areas, and/or in their hard copy monthly report (or intranet web page). These requirements are built into my “Personal Kaizen Operational Excellence” certificate process.
Would you like to learn more about developing effective work team leaders?
You can use the workbooks, workshops, and articles I offer on this site to (1) develop effective work teams, (2) design excellent work processes, and (3) sustain better results. There is no need for you to spend a lot of money or time. I truly believe that an organization cannot attain such goals without a team of great work team leaders.
There are two ways I can help you develop more effective work team leaders. First, I can facilitate virtual work team leader development workshops. Second, I can also serve as an ‘on the job’ performance improvement coach. Send me an e-mail if you would like to learn more.