“Bring me the problems, not the solutions”

September 21, 2017 | News Brazil
Until the last century, when the precepts of Frederick Taylor – with Taylorism – and Henry Ford – with Fordism still resounded strongly, each member of a team was responsible for a single function and was unaware of the other processes within the mass productive system. The leader, in that system, had the position of hero, completely centralized authority and decisions and the subordinates had no freedom of choice. It was something like: ‘Come in, but leave your mind outside. Just do as I say’.  Since the introduction of the Toyota management model in the 1980s, the role of the leader and his subordinates has undergone several transformations. According to the Lean methodology, no one is born leader, but leadership can be learned and taught. It is possible and necessary to develop daily leadership skills in everyone who can learn to lead in their immediate environment. In a Lean system, the root of all success is in using technical understanding to help customers solve their problems. And the key to customer satisfaction is the satisfaction of the entire team in serving you, achieving profit goals and developing people. According to the Staufen Táktica’s Lean management consultant and general manager, Dário Spinola, team leaders should not only evaluate, manage, handle incentives or promote team members. "Team members work with the leader and not for him. The leader does not supervise, he helps the team achieve their daily goals and supports improvement efforts", he explains.  When a team encounters a problem, it mobilizes to understand it and seek a solution, counting on the support and structuring of the leader, who, among other functions, verifies if it is a real problem or not, questions and directs, encourages and supports thinking and initiatives, as well as maintaining a positive and friendly attitude towards a good team spirit.  When an employee is missing, the team leader takes that position. If someone is having problems with the work they perform, the team leader appears and helps. It is the leader’s role to further translate strategic objectives into challenging goals, standardize processes, and create visual management that makes clear what the team needs to address and make the most of each employee’s skills and capabilities. The team does not want the leader to dictate the rules for solving a problem, but he hopes he can clarify the processes so they can visualize the deviations and can correct them. "In Lean thinking, clarity does not consist in giving clear instructions, but a clear sense of direction so that anyone can use their initiative and creativity to help the business and participate in its success," concludes Dario Spinola

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