Categories : Lean Manufacturing Principles


Kaizen Team Lead! Do they have a real role with real responsibilities?

I hear this same statement many times throughout the year. Why do we need to have a team lead in each ? This is a great question. What does a team lead actually do during the event?

Kaizen Team Lead

Kaizen Team Lead

Well, I can relate to you a story about a who was taking a Kaizen team through an event. He would have to leave the room occasionally to attend to other business because of his position in the company. When he left the room he would ask the team lead to step in and take over the facilitation process. After the third day, the team told the that they did not really understand the process and were having problems trying to decide what to do next. The turned to the team lead and scolded him in front of the team. The accused him of not following the agenda and leading the team away from the process. Was this true?

Actually, what the facilitator accused the team lead of doing was not true. The team lead had minimal experience in the Kaizen process and had never facilitated an event from the start to finish. The facilitator was at fault for two reasons:

  1. He left the team at inappropriate times, instead he could have dealt with his other business when the team was collecting data or trying to find a solution, etc.
  2. He did not understand the team lead’s role during the event.

A team lead’s role is to ensure that all the equipment, food, materials, etc. are available for the team. The team lead’s responsibilities are to support the facilitator during the event. This does not mean they step in to take over the facilitation at the drop of a hat. Often, a facilitator is not a company employee. They are consultants. The team lead is usually a company employee who has access to the people who can provide the resources for the Kaizen event. A team lead could be a facilitator in training, but it would be wrong to give them full responsibility for a team during an event without support.

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 Posted on : September 24, 2010

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