Work Content for Line Leads

A line lead (or team leader) is defined as a leader of 5- 6 people in an area. There’s a lot of discussion on what a good line lead is. What is a good mix of work content for line leads?
One school of thought is that the lead should be a working lead. Basically he / she is supposed to work 100% and manage their team as well. The other school of thought is that they just need to supervise. Better to try to improve your team’s performance by 20% than to work yourself.
One Lean approach is to work 50% of the time and do Kaizen 50% of the time. While this sounds good in theory, it’s very hard for the lead to draw the line at 50%. Practically, the lead will end up working 100% of the time or shuffling paper 100% of the time.
While 50-50 is good in theory, can we make a rule that will make it easy to practice? The rules needs to be 50% work and 50% Kaizen. In this case 50% work means “help when the team is delayed”. That’s it. You can call it ‘relief work’ rather than line work. If the team is on time, then concentrate on Kaizen. If they are behind, or there is trouble, provide relief.
This does pre-suppose that the line or area to be worked on is staffed adequately without counting the Lead. Since problems will occur, however, the Lead is there to help the team catch up and implement Kaizen so that it becomes a more robust system.