KaizenTips for Lean Managers

10 Ways that Kaizen Develops Better Leaders

By Jon Miller Updated on March 1st, 2021

Here are ten ways that kaizen develops better leaders.

#1 Attention

The leader well-heeled in kaizen notices the small things and is bothered by them if they seem abnormal. They pay attention to details.

#2 Vision

The practice of kaizen helps people develop and lead with vision. Kaizen starts with an idea of what is possible, an image of the ideal condition. This enables long-term thinking instead of a focus on the daily firefighting with the nearest alligator.

#3 Insight

Leaders who practice kaizen Insight into the business is developed through reflection on problems, their root causes and how to solve them.

#4 Teamwork

Teamwork is part and parcel of leadership that is strengthened by effectively facilitating kaizen events or coaching others on turning their ideas into reality through suggestion schemes.

#5 Advancing

Advance your team member’s careers by walking along side them on their learning journey. Mentor them and keep them from wavering on the path of the creative thinking process. Advancing individuals toward their goals is also a leadership habit kaizen develops.

#6 Linking

Link the impact of many small, practical improvements so that they add up to the bottom line. The up and coming leader must become more familiar in the financial language and formulas of her company. Leaders should also know the limitations of traditional financial measurements and their common pitfalls. Leaders create relatable links between metrics, actions and the top level management agenda.

#7 Clarity

Following structured kaizen activity helps leaders develop the ability to observe and think clearly. This results in high situational awareness, an ability to not be easily distracted, and to focus on eliminating waste, variation and overburden.

#8 Respect

Kaizen teaches respect for people, time, resources, and differences in viewpoints. Effective leaders find ways to deepen mutual trust and respect as they practice continuous improvement.

#9 Objectivity

Kaizen build’s a leader’s ability to face and manage by fact. Kaizen does this through the practices of “go see” or genchi genbutsu, by checking one’s assumptions by testing them through experimentation, and turning the PDCA cycle.

#10 Connections

Kaizen builds stronger connection  built between internal customer-supplier relationships. This results in stronger personal relationships as well as a stronger enterprise.


  1. alex kubi

    February 17, 2009 - 7:52 am
    Reply

    Jon, I saw this coming, this fuses well with the question on how to arrive at the ‘Vital few’?
    In the same strength what you are describing here is what Accenture call developing ‘Distinctive Capabilities’ one of the three building block of ‘High Performance’.
    Toyota has developed ‘Distinctive Capabilities’ that with time, its own business algorithms, is not easy to copy. Because it is deeply embedded in the people behind Toyota as a brand.
    In summary for one to become an effective leader, one need to practice, if not mastering the ten habits. I use the word ‘habits, because one need to develop them if he/she do not have them.
    On mastering the 10 Ways, you would probably achieve a black belt in Six Sigma circles. In simpler terms develop skills that differentiate you from the others, them multiply by coaching others to do the same. Jon I am happy at last you have given me the items I needed to complete the ‘Vital Few’ training.
    …a leaders with ‘distinctive capabilities’…to lead a team to lean implementation there after the organization become a high performer

  2. Artan Resuli

    May 15, 2009 - 2:45 am
    Reply

    Thank You for the great stuf that offer to uss by Gembapantarei.
    What I`ve noticed is ” A VITAL CROCK ”
    Am I right.
    Best wishes

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