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4 Steps to Becoming a Better Continuous Improvement Leader

Posted by Allan Wilson

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Jul 9, 2014 10:25:00 AM

Leadership_Blog_Series2Read the previous post in this series

If you've been following along in this series, you've been getting tips for weeks now about how to be a better continuous improvement leader. Hopefully you're starting to see some results - your team is more engaged and proactive about continuous improvement,  and they're meeting and exceeding the goals you've set for them.  

Maybe it's time to relax a bit and reflect on your awesome leadership skills?  Wrong - that's the last thing you should do! This whole time, you've been emphasizing the importance of CONTINUOUS improvement - don't drop the ball on it now. Now is an excellent time to focus on continuously improving your leadership skills so that you can:

  • Grow and advance your career
  • Take on more responsibility at work
  • Lead even larger teams with success

Here are 4 things you should be doing to make sure your own development stays on track:

Establish a benchmark

Whose leadership skills do you most admire?  Identify one or two people and research their behaviors:

  • What do they focus on, and how do they lead?  
  • How have they separated themselves from the pack?  
  • What behaviors do you need to change to emulate their success?  
  • What mistakes they might have they made along the way? Note these, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Revisit this benchmarking frequently.  Be honest with yourself in assessing your current leadership skills against these benchmarks.  Identify areas in your behavior that need to be adjusted or improved.

Ask your team to give you a scorecard

Tell your team that you are continually focused on being a better leader (after all, how better to encourage continuous improvement than to lead by example?).  Ask them for an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, and areas where they feel that you need to improve. This will be easier for you to put into place if you have built your team around trust and respect

Establish a reasonable frequency for this activity (maybe quarterly).

Ask the person you report to for their assessment

Be proactive in this.  Tell your manager that you are focused on your own improvement, and provide them with a framework that they can just fill in (do not make it freeform).  This framework of assessment should focus on the areas you have identified by the benchmarking research you did on other leaders you admire.

Focus on continuous personal education

Research and read. Find discussion groups that are relevant and exchange ideas (I personally find Linkedin quite helpful for this). After all - you can do a lot by asking for input from your team and managers, but getting information from outside sources will provide you with a deeper pool of knowledge to pull from. 

Look for new publications on Lean Leadership.  There are great resources available online.  

If you apply these 4 behaviors continuously and consistently then you are putting in place the core pillars necessary to ensure that your leadership skills will be continuously improved and refined.  

Get involved in the conversation: How do you continuously improve your leadership skills? What advice do you have for others looking to do the same?

Blog Series: 6 Leadership Behaviors that Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement

This post is the sixth in a seven part blog series. Be sure to sign up to receive posts via email so that you don't miss the rest of the series (or any of our other posts)!

Want to learn more about the leadership behaviors you should be focusing on? Download our free eBook today!

Leadership_Behaviors_eBook25 Leadership Behaviors that Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement

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Topics: Leadership

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