Letting Others Solve Their Problems Is a Show of Respect

Lee Fried on the Daily Kaizen blog mentioned that, through his mentoring of kaizen, lean and gemba in the workplace, he has gotten to know one particular manager who constantly felt that it was his job, as the leader, to try and solve the problems that arose for his employees during his gemba walks – in order that they could continue to work at their jobs without having to address the problems.

What Fried told him in reply was from something he had learned from a Toyota sensei (teacher) years before,

“the highest form of “respect for people” [is] allowing people to solve their own problems.”

That leader took Fried’s advise and ran with it, and he started enjoying his job an his people again.

I think this is sound advise – workers are not children. They are adults who get paid to do the work that they do, and to coddle them and take their problems away means more work for you, and is a show of mistrust and condescension from management to them.  Now, I think there are exceptions to this (like when a problem is taing away from production for an extended period of time), but it is wise to let people come up with solutions that are best for their working environment.

Read more from Lee Fried on the Daily Kaizen blog, here =>

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