The Boss Knows Best … or Does He?

Businessman is pointing at himselfThis post is on a topic you probably all have had experience with at one point or another (or even all the time) in your career. A superior makes a decision, and you are internally wincing because you know right away that it is a really bad idea. In this post I would like to talk about uncertainty and decision making, and how to make better suggestions. If you are a regular reader of my posts, you probably already know the answer: Involve the employees! This post is a continuation of my previous post on military leadership.

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Military Leadership and Disobedience

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, there was a disagreement on leadership favoring a much more authoritarian leadership style and stating “A general who asks his soldiers if they will fight, he is not yet ready for war.” I disagree with this view, both for military and especially for manufacturing. Yet, this discussion inspired me to write two posts on the difficult subject of leadership. This first post here looks in more detail at military leadership, and the occasional need of soldiers to refuse, ignore, or disobey an order. A second post will look at what this means for manufacturing.

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About the Value of Disagreement for Leadership

Leaders not only make decisions, but also have a large impact on the mood and the culture in a company. Often, they like to be right. Yet, they are only humans, they don’t know everything, and they do make mistakes. Hence, a good culture for disagreement is important to make better decisions. In this post I would like to talk more about the value of disagreement, and why it is not common to find it in industry.

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Respect for People – Why and How

Two People in Shop Floor MeetingIn my previous post on “Respect for People” or “Respect for Humanity,” I gave you a bit of an introduction to this very challenging topic. In this second post of the series I will look at why you should have respect for others, and especially how you can show respect. However, especially the “how to …” part will be difficult.

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Respect for People – Introduction

One important aspect in lean manufacturing is “Respect for People,” or more correctly, “Respect for Humanity.” But while it is mentioned frequently in presentations and books on lean manufacturing, what it actually means is often glossed over. And it is not an easy topic to write about. There is no “5 Steps to Respect for People.” Sorry. I have been thinking about writing a blog post on respect for quite some time, but it is difficult to write something substantial rather than just some anecdotes. It runs the risk of quickly drifting off into general management and leadership behavior. Nevertheless, I managed to write a series of three blog posts on it. Well, anyway, here we go…

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