5 Skills Every Lean Manager Needs

Adi Gaskell

5 Skills Every Lean Manager Needs

Lean supervisors are often the key cogs in the process improvement machinery. They sit on the border between management and the coal face, dealing with issues as they arrive and helping those in their charge deliver the improvements required.

Mike Wroblewski, director of the Kaizen Institute USA, recently outlined five key skills required by lean supervisors if they’re to excel in the role.

  1. Excellent technical knowledge. It is essential that the lean supervisor be an expert in the work over which they have responsibility. They must know the processes involved inside out.
  2. Knowledge of job roles. Part of their interface with management requires an understanding of the HR side of each job role. Do you know the company policies or other rules of the workplace?
  3. A Kaizen master. It probably goes without saying but the lean supervisor should have a strong understanding of the skills in the lean toolkit. Things like PDCA and 5S should be comfortable for the strong lean supervisor.
  4. Leadership skills. The line manager is arguably the most important in any organisation as they set the tone for the entire organisation. If you want the right culture, you need your lean supervisors to be excellent leaders.
  5. A superb coach. Coaching is possibly the most under-rated in the managers toolkit, with many managers enforcing their will by fear rather than engagement. If you can teach your charges however then you’re well on the way to becoming an excellent lean supervisor.

If you’re a lean supervisor yourself, how many of these skills do you hold?