101 Kaizen Templates: Lean Leadership Self Check

The Real Leader, states Ron Pereira today on the Lean Six Sigma Academy blog, “…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.”

It’s definitely hard, I can attest for that. Whether it’s worth the effort or not, well, you might say that the only substitute is a lot of clean up. Thank goodness for the dearth of real leadership, or we consultants would be out of work. That’s a joke, but leadership is really a tough game. 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.

This is easier said than done. It’s also easier read than done, as the stacks of popular business books on leadership will attest. So it’s with some reluctance to add to this stack that I share with you the Lean Leadership Self Check as today’s addition to the 101 kaizen templates series. This is an example from a recent self check I did on myself. Happily, there are many areas for improvement, which is to say I continue to fail in many areas.

Feel free to rename it the Practical Leadership Self Check or Good Leadership Self Check, as the obligatory “lean” is only a branding element and not to imply that these traits cannot be demonstrated by people who are completely ignorant of all other aspects of lean and the Toyota Production System.

If you are in any leadership position in your home, community or work, be it the leader of a team or the CEO of a company, I encourage you to do a leadership 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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