Lean Interactive Leadership – The Role of the Serving Leader

By Tonita Proulx, Business Partnerships

Published: November 19, 2013

Lean principles are not specific to manufacturing processes. In fact, when viewed from a business perspective core lean ideas are easily applied to the shift towards interactive business, an impetus for business wide successes from employees to end customers using consistent innovation and improvement as driver behind the way we think and act.

Like the lean manufacturing leader, leaders on the interactive side focus on driving continuous improvement. Continuous improvement in our world breaks down into four primary rules, guided by the principles of serving leadership:

Rule 1: Serving leaders upend the pyramid of conventional management thinking. They put themselves at the bottom of the pyramid and unleash the energy, excitement and talents of the team, business and community. All are equal, all our called to lead, all are mentors.

Rule 2: Serving leaders hold out in front of their team, business or community a “reason why,” a purpose that is so big that it requires and motivates everybody’s very best effort. In this way, individual talents will rise up to exceptional performance.

Rule 3: Serving leaders raise the bar of expectation. They are highly selective in the choice of team leaders and establish high standards of performance. These actions build a culture of performance throughout the team, business or community.

Rule 4: Serving leaders blaze the trail encouraging innovation and everyone’s best efforts. Which also means they build on individual strengths to build a successful team, while working to remove obstacles to performance.

Rule 5: Each team member of a team built on serving leadership must have a long term vision of the challenges they needs to face to realize their ambition and operate at their full potential. To do so, we have to challenge ourselves every day to see if we are achieving our goals.

But the serving leader title isn’t resolved solely for the CEO or executives. We are all serving leaders, working as a team to build value for clients and their customers.

Think you could improve your business by using these principles? Let’s chat!