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Three Skills You Must Have for Successfully Leading a Kaizen

written by: Suvo • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 8/16/2010

What are the traits of successful Kaizen leaders? There are a number of skills that can help you lead a Kaizen more effectively. In this article, we'll focus on the three most important ones.

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    Leading a Kaizen

    The Japanese word “Kaizen" means “improvement." The Kaizen philosophy is applied for manufacturing activities, business management activities, service offerings, or even for various activities of human life. Kaizen is a regular activity aimed not only for short term production improvements but also humanizes the work place by eliminating overly hard workloads, provided it is practiced correctly throughout the work place. In case you happen to lead a Kaizen team, the following three skills will be helpful for leading a Kaizen successfully.

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    1. Be the Change

    If you want to have a clean workplace, throw the dirty piece of paper from the floor in to the dust bin. If you want your team to lessen their chit-chat time, reduce your own frequency and duration for coffee breaks. Keep in mind that your smallest gestures will also be observed and they will affect your team’s attitude. Be the role model and set the example that you want your team to follow. Kaizen is all about bringing small but continuous improvements through the team members to the team to the organization.

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    2. Be a Real Team Player

    From setting the goals to solving problems and achieving improvements, you and your team members should be equally involved. You should be acting like a teacher for generating ideas from your team members. You will be really blessed if you have a team willed with bright, motivated, and talented people. Otherwise, your success as a Kaizen leader will depend totally upon how well you are able to increase the knowledge, skills, and participation of your team members.

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    3. Communication

    Use all modes of communication, including speaking, listening, doing, expressing and appreciating. Your intentions regarding improvements should be well known to your team members and known well in advance. As a Kaizen leader, you should develop a credible reputation that demonstrate to your people that you are there to see them succeed.

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    Kaizen means improvements. Kaizen philosophy is practiced in industry for getting big cumulative organizational level improvement by achieving small improvements at the team member level first. For leading a Kaizen, you need to be a disciplined leader who can work with the team and is capable of bringing changes.

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