“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Daniel Goleman
For years I heard what some considered a wonderful piece of advice, if you have too many things to do, or you don’t like to do something, delegate! Some people delegate only if it is completely necessary because they are buried on work. Sometimes delegation comes after the realization that you can ask somebody to do what you hate so much. Either one of these reasons is wrong.
Many leaders don’t delegate citing reasons like: lack of time for training, it is easier or faster if they do it, the believe that only them has the necessary skill set to complete the task or the fear of not meeting deadlines or not accomplishing the expected results. I used the same excuses to not delegate but then I realize that delegation is an excellent tool to promote the growth of our employees. If it is done right, it is also perfect to gain some extra time that we can use for continuous improvement activities.
Once you decided to use delegation as part of your team development, the first step is to decide which tasks can be delegated and which ones cannot. Identify those tasks that even if you hate them, you are the only one that can do them. Only you can group tasks based on criticality, level of sensitivity or confidentiality, skill level and effort.
When you delegate you are not transferring the responsibility of completing a task, you are still responsible for it. You are also responsible for setting up your employee for success. Start by matching the necessary skills to complete the task with those of your employees and choose the one that matches better. Once you identify who to delegatee, the next step is to sit down with he or she to have an honest talk about why you want to delegate and why to he or she. Explain the development opportunities but do not hide the challenges coming with it. Never let your employee alone on this journey, design a basic training program and execute it. Do not pretend to dictate every step of the way, allow your employee to think on his/her own and develop his/hew own way to do it, trust but verify.
As part of the training, set up expectations, what needs to be done and how, milestones and due dates. Also provide instructions, contact names and information if necessary and establish follow-up dates to make sure everything is on track.
Delegation done right can be excellent for both parties, but make sure that you are delegating and not just assigning a task. Delegating is one of the core concepts of management leadership. The person who delegated the work share the responsibility for the outcome with the person doing the work. By delegating you enables the person doing the work to decide how to achieve it, gives he or she the authority to do the job and offers opportunities to develop new skills. If none of these happen then you are just assigning a task.
Have you ever experience one of the following on your workplace: personal attacks like yelling or threats, insults, laughing at you when you fail, spreading rumours, sabotage, personal information like performance appraisal made public, unrealistic deadlines or being push to complete a task for which you have not being trained.
Those are examples of bullying, and it does exist in the workplace. The perpetrator can be someone who feels threaten, is jealous, insecure, unable to do his/her job or not feel competent enough to be successful.
Consequences from this behavior goes from personal issues (health complications, self-esteem, emotional) to productivity loss. Targets are very skilled people, highly competent, perhaps a new employee who has been very successful on a similar role, likeable people or with a lot of technical knowledge and/or experience. Targets are usually the kind of people who is more prone to support continuous improvement initiatives.
I have been witness of this kind of behavior, it is horrible. It not only affect the target but the people around as well. It takes away your peace of mind, your focus and make you feel that if you are successful enough; you will be the next target. It creates stress, which we all know is a source of hypertension, depression and anxiety. Sickness creates attendance problems, work will accumulate, due dates wont be met, maybe will affect customers.
This cost money: higher absenteeism rate usually creates over time and more use of medical insurance will increase premiums and compensation claims. The team stress level increases, loosing focus and decreasing morale. The whole situation creates a hostile work environment which is a step away from possible law suits. Eventually, bullying targets resign and with he or she, the motivation to work and practice continuous improvement goes out of the door too. And what is worst, the bully stays and with he/she stays the fear, incompetence, inefficiency and lack of committment.
As leaders, we need to be in the look out for bullies and stop their behavior, for the benefit of our employees. It is our responsibility to promote a health work environment and bullying is the opposite of that. No lean journey will be successful if we allow this kind of behavior, respect for the people is the most important mind-set for continuous improvement and bullying is a disrespectful behavior.
These days the demand for candidates for manufacturing jobs is not enough for the demand. Lose experience is critical not only for continuous improvement but for the plant successful operation. Many experienced employees are starting to retire, therefore retention is more important than ever, whatever happen during their first ninety days can determine how long they stay. What we have to do to keep our team minds away from thinking about getting a new job? A good pay rate and benefits are important but they are not everything.
Employees are looking for a work place where they are treated with respect, their ideas and needs matter and they have the tools they need to be able to accomplish their work successfully without safety issues or hassles. New hires are mostly millennial, what are they looking for on their work place? They want to have a meaningful job, a place where they can make the difference. They also want to grow, to learn, to feel that other people care about them: their peers, a mentor, somebody who helps and advice not just train them on how to do their job. They would like companies that commit to their development the same way they will commit to the company’s future.
The common thing between them is that they want to feel good, respected and that their leaders care about them. People appreciate to work in a positive environment where they feel trusted and listened. In a respectful work environment, employees feel trust to talk with the supervisor about things on their personal lives that affect their work performance. This trust does not appear out of the blue, needs to be built over time. When somebody from the team is struggling, let’s remember them that all of us has bad times, encourage them to overcome those issues, do not try to diminish them but rather listened and let them the chance to vent. Treat employees like people, not a commodity.
Training during on boarding is a great chance to start showing that you care about new hires and employees in general. For some high skill, critical positions it is very easy for new hires to feel overwhelmed because there is too much to learn on a short period of time. High levels of stress can have a negative impact on performance. This is a perfect time to encourage communication not just about procedures and policies but about how they feel as human beings.
While the supervisor have the burden on making the employee feels appreciated on his/her new job, the manager plays an important role also. Just a small chat with new employees to say hello and welcome them to the team is enough to establish a relationship. Do not stop there, during the next couple of days or weeks talk with them again, this time ask how they feel, what they need, make clear what the job priorities are but also clarify that nobody expect them to know everything, asking questions is fine. Encourage them to make questions, to clarify doubts, to talk with their supervisors about their concerns and if that does not work, then to feel free to talk with you. There is no guarantee that this will incline the scale towards stay in the company vs. leaving but for sure can help to keep the team together.
“I believe in the power of teamwork, and I think you will have superior results if you are aligned and win the hearts and minds of your employees, if they understand where the company is going and they’re all in.” – Mary Barra