By Alex Jones, TechSolve
If you haven’t already noticed, the nature of leadership is changing.
Few companies are anticipating this fact, and most aren’t developing the skill sets of their leaders in anticipation. The reason for this change comes from three major drivers. Firstly, the millennials have been arriving in the workforce, and these team members want to make a difference. They will not be satisfied just “blending in” with the crowd, doing the same thing every day.
Secondly, we have the speed at which technology is progressing. If you do not live, eat and breathe for what’s new out there, you will soon be left behind.
And third, you have the threat of competition in the marketplace. This threat has always been present, but with the speed of new technological advancement, this threat increases as paradigms shift.
To deal with all three of these changes, we must address our leadership. In particular, how we empower people. We need to let go of our need for control and to allow others to show us what they can do to make a difference. We cannot be “in the know” on every new technological advancement and how we can benefit from it. But, I can assure you, that someone in your company already is. We need to embrace each individual team members’ unique skillsets and how to best utilize that in the workplace. We need to focus on developing in each team member the skills needed to take ownership of their small everyday problems and resolve them at the root cause. In this way, they will grow their skills and see that they are making a difference.
This takes time to develop, but once the majority of the company is practicing this, the improvements that will come out of it will make it impossible for competition to catch up. So as you can see, a minor change in leadership will make a major, companywide impact. There are companies that have been implementing these changes, and they are doing great. For the rest, only time will tell.
Alex Jones is a manufacturing consultant with TechSolve, a process improvement consulting firm and an Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliate. For over 18 years, Alex Jones has been helping manufacturers implement process improvement methodologies such as Lean, Six Sigma, Toyota Kata and Toyota Production System (TPS).