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Front line supervisors should be focused on making it easier for their teams to achieve results.
Employees can get irritated when, despite their best efforts, the system seems to block them from being able to achieve the desired results. They don’t want to hear you telling them they’re not working hard enough or they’re not achieving the goals.
The reality is, there’s a lot of steps in place that sometimes make it more difficult for people to achieve the results you desire. I’ve got a few tips for you, as the leader, in order to do that.
One is be an advocate for your team. Your team can’t always leave their workstations to go and talk to quality, engineering, or the plant manager to ask for things to be changed. However, you can as their supervisor. Make sure you go to bat for them with other departments and other leaders in other departments.
Remember some of those other departments will have different goals from you and different ways to measure those goals. As a result, they might not naturally be inclined to make the job of your team any easier. If you can explain why having a procedure or practice changed would make it easier for your team to increase their performance, you may just be able to build allies in those other teams. Your team needs you to go to bat for them and be their advocate.
The second tip is always be looking for ways to identify and eliminate waste. Even the ones that are fairly well designed and even where you’ve applied lean manufacturing principles, there’s still waste. There’s wasted steps, wasted paperwork and checklists. The customer is not going to pay for it, and it just frustrates your team to have to go through those tedious steps. It could actually be a big win-win for the customer, for your company, and for your team to identify and eliminate these wastes.
The third tip is to embrace continuous improvement. When you embrace continuous improvement, you’re always looking for ways to make things better for your team. You should remind them at times of what you’re doing to reduce the frustrations that are getting in the way of hitting their numbers because they might not always see it if you make those changes subtly.
Recognize your job as a leader is to remove the obstacles your team has that makes it difficult for them to hit their numbers and perform better.
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