101 Kaizen TemplatesKaizen

101 Kaizen Templates: Lean Leadership Self Check

By Jon Miller Updated on September 14th, 2020

In a blog post, Ron Pereira explains that a Real Leader, “…listens, respects, challenges, disciplines, and genuinely cares about his or her employees. Yes, real leadership is hard to practice. But just like a healthy and happy home life, it’s definitely worth the effort.”

Is it Worth the Effort the be a “Real Leader”?

Being a real leader is definitely hard, I can attest to that. Is it worth the effort? It’s a pay me now or pay me later situation. Without effort in leadership, there will be more effort in clean up as things go wrong. Consultants and management advisors would be out of work if real leadership was easy.

Real leadership is not a continuum. It’s a “pass / fail” situation. You do what you want, and you pay for it. So you might as well pay for it now by practicing a leadership style that gets you the results you want.

How to Check if You are a Real Leader

This is easier said than done. It’s also easier read than done. There are stacks of business books on leadership. So it’s with some reluctance to add to this stack that I share with you the Lean Leadership Self Check. This is an example from a recent self check I developed for a client. I tried it on myself. Happily, I found many areas for improvement. That is to say I continue to fail as a leader in some areas.

Include a Leadership Self Check into your Semi-Annual Routine

These traits can be demonstrated by people who are new to, or know nothing of lean management and the Toyota Production System. Feel free to rename it the Practical Leadership Self Check or Good Leadership Self Check. The obligatory “lean” is only a branding element.

If you are in any leadership position in your home, community or work, at any level from team to CEO, I encourage you to try the leadership self check. Find your biggest gaps and work on them. Redo the self check at least every six months using this template or a modified version. Just don’t fill this out and tack it on your leader’s door, Wittenberg-style. That would not be respectful.

  1. Mike Lombard

    February 29, 2008 - 1:49 pm

    I can’t say how much I love and appreciate this series of posts. Please, please continue! I bookmark each one and download each template, and have already incorporated your “Stand in the Circle” exercise into our corporate-wide Lean 101 training.
    Every time we send our managers out to the shopfloor to stand in the circle, they come back with a look of awe on their faces (due to the staggering amount of waste that they’ve overlooked for so long). Thanks for all your help.

  2. Jon Miller

    March 5, 2008 - 8:31 am

    Thank you for the encouragement Mike. It means a lot to hear that you are putting the templates and exercises to good use.

  3. Ryan

    March 6, 2008 - 8:17 pm

    Yes, I really value these very valuable tools you are providing.
    Where I work, I am in the process of presenting the A3 (One Page) Problem Solving Sheet as in order to achieve the intent idea you provided.
    So far, the feedback has been very positive.
    Thank you, and please keep this stuff going.
    It’s really great stuff
    – Ryan

  4. Dave Miller

    March 2, 2009 - 2:36 am

    Thank you for this inventory sheet. I modified number 5 to read
    “I supportively challenge people to grow and achieve their full potential”. I don’t motivate co-workers but rather create opportunities that can evoke motivation in co-workers.

  5. Tamara

    July 20, 2010 - 12:13 am

    I love the series so much. It is such a vital tool for me in my responsibility. Thank you very much… please continue to provide these kind of stuff.

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