When I was in a class for new managers at my current employer a few years back, I was challenged to write a leadership vision. For a while, when you’re a new manager, you spend a lot of time getting on your feet and managing, but not that much time leading. There is a difference between the two. It is easy to get caught up in that and fail to make the transition. However, I managed to begin my journey to becoming a leader and created my leadership vision so I wouldn’t be a ship sailing with no navigation. My leadership vision statement is below.
As a leader of a development team, I strive to continually:
- protect my employees from unreasonable demands
- clear the obstacles so that work can be done
- inspire and motivate my team so that they desire excellence
- be a collaborative partner of the business we serve
- be a good role model of honesty, integrity, attitude and work ethic
Now, I have no idea how this measures up to others’ leadership visions but I’m not sure I care about that! The reason I’m posting about it here is that I think Lean practices, including Kanban, can and will help me fulfill this vision. Kanban is definitely not a magic bullet that completely takes care of it all in one fell swoop, but it definitely manages to hit most of the bullet points to one degree or another.
The practices of visualizing your work serves to give visibility to my client, thereby bolstering our ability to collaborate and contributes to the honesty role model desire. Limiting WIP helps me protect my employees from unreasonable demands and also lets them focus on providing a quality of excellence (the more you are excellent, the higher the drive to stay that way). Doing both of the above helps me identify obstacles in our value flow so I can begin to clear them out of the way. There are many other ways I can tie Kanban to this vision, but I’d like to ask you the following:
- Do you have a leadership vision?
- Do Lean practices help you achieve your vision?
- Does Kanban play a role?
Even if you don’t comment on this blog post (but, please do!), I challenge you to consider this on your own. If you don’t have a leadership vision, write one. You don’t need to have a specific title to be a leader. You can lead from any station in life. I also challenge you to consider how Lean practices can contribute to your leadership goals.