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Adventures In TPS Learning, Nice vs. Weak Leader

Aug 9, 2014 | Posted by Ben Thompson

I learned a hard lesson last week, the difference between being nice and being a leader.

I have been waiting for a coworker to get back to me with some information that is crucial to progressing with our inventory kaizen. I was trying to be mindful that this person may be having workload capacity issues and gave them ample time more then once to get me this information.  During one of my talks with my boss and mentor Matt Elson it was brought to my attention that I was confusing being nice with being a weak leader.

It was a harsh but true reality, I was so preoccupied with not hurting anyone’s feelings or stepping on their toes that I was avoiding the truth. The truth was as Matt had put it “being nice is being polite, and being an approachable & welcoming person.  That has nothing to do with getting what you need from your team members to get the job done.” Being nice is a must but so is getting results.

It is not “mean” to tell someone “hey you’re making me look bad because you aren’t getting me that information and its holding up the project.”, its just being honest. Its being a good leader to know when your team member needs that extra push to realize they are hindering the team’s performance.

Some would reason that it is more “mean” to not give them that push because because you are knowingly letting them fail continuously and letting their performance impact that of the team. So go ahead and make sure your being nice but also make sure your being a leader while you,






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