iSixSigma

Personality Profile of Successful Team Leaders

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Personality Profile of Successful Team Leaders

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #30299

    Carrie Davis
    Participant

    My company has now completed our fifth wave of projects and beyond the challenges of having a project inventory, getting support from senior management, etc., we have consistently encountered difficulty in determining “the profile” of a successful Team Leader.  Our experience tells us that the soft skills of team facilitation are actually more important to a successful project than the ability to administer the tools used in the Six Sigma process.
    Has there been any research done by Six Sigma consultant companies/ companies utilizing Six Sigma methodology that outlines those personality traits that characterize a successful Team Leader?  I would be very interested to hear what, if any, conclusions have been reached.

    0
    #79017

    Kim Niles
    Participant

    Dear Carrie:
    Great question.  I can’t believe you don’t have a bunch of response posts.  I haven’t seen much on this in the literature so perhaps no one knows the answer.  A team leader obviously has to be a people person, self confident, cost and variation reduction oriented, well trained, motivated, and alert. 
    I suppose a lot also depends upon the situation.  It might be best to trade off less of a people person for more of a technical problem solver if that is what is needed for a given project. 
    iSixSigma also published my related article at https://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c020114a.asp that might help.
    I look forward to reading other thoughts.
    Sincerely,
    KN

    0
    #79021

    abasu
    Participant

    An excellent book on leadership traits is Jim Collin’s “From Good to Great”. 

    0
    #79024

    GEMBB
    Participant

    I don’t know of any research, but from my time at GE I can tell you that the most effective leaders were the ones that understood the business culture and continually used the CAP (Change Acceleration Process) tools. It’s the people who had an understanding of SS but coupled it with their “softer” skills such as leadership, listening, change, etc. that made the biggest impact. Consequently, they were the ones that were recruited heavily after their SS 2-3 year rotation was up.

    0
    #79025

    Scott K Thompson
    Member

    I cannot agree more…Having the ability to move organizations and being the change agent has more to do with people/soft skills than it does knowing the tools
    I do not know of any studies that have been done to support this theory.  After deploying this methodology in three companies, I am confident you are correct in your assessment.

    0
    #79028

    Daniel Gendron
    Participant

    Can you tell us more about this concept of Change Acceleration Process ? I would like to know more about that in order to learn and use it.

    0
    #79029

    GEMBB
    Participant

    Pick up the book entitled “Leading Change” by Kotter. It’s the non-IP version of GE’s CAP program.

    0
    #79035

    Patricia
    Participant

    Good to Great is an excellent book on leadership.  Our company recently attended a panel discussion where we presented a power point of how our Six Sigma initiatives support the transformation of going from “good” to “great”. 
    Another good book on leadership is Leadership Jazz by Max De Pre.
    I would also suggest getting team leaders trained on project management.  This will give the the tools to handle multi-tasking.

    0
    #79037

    Jim Hawkins
    Participant

    If I were on a deserted island and given only one choice for a book on leadership, it would have to be Peter R. Scholtes, “The Leader’s Handbook.”

    0
    #79044

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Carrie,
    I agree with Kim it is a great question as well as an important one. Kim’s point about it being conditional is also important.
    The string seems to be wandering a bit from your question of “Successful Team Leaders.” There are Leaders, Change and leading Change all of which are related topics but are still different.
    If you are looking for reading material Patricias reference to Max DePree was perfect. I would start with his book “Leadership is an Art” ISBN 0-440-50324-8 then do “Leadership Jazz.” I just think Jazz makes more sense if you read Art first.
    You referenced what SS consultants had done. Typically we throw up some chart that lists 5-6 traits that we borrowed from some book. It really doesn’t have much effect on the output of the selection process. Our input is one of those safe obligatory questions that gets asked by management when we start a deployment. They rarely do anything differently than they have done in the past – “the usual suspects.” In most situations, people who select team leaders are going to select people like themselves. It makes a lot of sense from a behaviorial side – why select someone different from you? They might be different enough to irritate you (on a fairly regular basis).
    They might also be different enough to break up the incestuous nature of management so that somebody might just wander a little bit outside the box occationally and have an original thought. There is a new book out by Watts Wacker called “The Deviants Advantage: How Fringe Ideas Create Mass Markets.” Although it doesn’t address leadership from outside the incestuous core it does have concepts which could be extrapolated to assist in clorinating the gene pool. There may even be some new and different ideas floating around from time to time.
    If you are looking for a hard technique, there is a tool I have seen 3 companies use to help in the selection of BB’s. It does seem to improve the selection process. The only BB training class which had a 100% yield (everybody got results and certified) since 1/95 was selected using this technique. It is called Vector Analysis. It was done by another consulting (HR types) firm some where in Pennsylvania.(I think – definately not Happy Valley). It is an HR technique that uses data beyond the HR “experts” interviewing individuals then using the force to divine some selection guidelines. It is a questionaire that has a large number of questions that a person responds to and is actually scored and analyzed to test for fit. It can also provide coaching suggestions if you choose to select someone that does not fit the model. Sounds like hypothesis testing.
    Good luck.

    0
    #79062

    jtucci
    Participant

     Carrie,
    Based on our experience with more than 4000 project teams.  We have found that you can more reliably increase the success rate of team leaders not by looking for a particular personality profile, but by developing a more robust, reliable process for team leaders to follow to manage team dynamics and project life-cycle.
    By focusing on the developing a better team process we have been able to identify some simple selection criteria for team leaders that expands rather than limits participation opportunities.  They are:
    1. Has content knowledge on the assignment
    2. Is respected by potential team members and the sponsoring manager – typically the team leader should be the highest ranking member of the team or at least at a peer level for green belt projects, if at a peer level make sure you select the “first among equals” as team leaders i.e. the best of the bunch.  Obviously, this rule may not apply to black belt projects – black belts have the training and should be better equipped to lead projects where some of the team members may outrank them.
    3. Is willing to be open to others ideas i.e. not trying to ram their agenda or solution down the team’s throat;
    4. Has good basic organization skills i.e. good time management skills and good at communication and task management.
    5. Has the motivation to lead the project because they see a clear personal benefit — i.e. career enhancement opportunity.
    The key is providing them with a clear process for how to manage the lifecycle of their team and the team dynamics.  Here is an analogy that might help bring this home:
    Black Belt and Green Belt Training is like going to cooking school — you learn all about foods, spices, equipment etc. all the basics of cooking.  When you leave cooking school and have to actually make a meal most graduates will have more success in producing a good meal if they follow a recipe.  The typical GB/BB training does a great job of providing the “tools recipe” but not so great a job providing the “team dynamic/project lifecycle recipe”
    Most times they are left to synthesize and distill their own recipe for managing the team through trial and error and by trying to remember what they learned in the two hour change management module buried in 4 weeks of tools training.
    Left to figure out the recipe for team dynamics and project life cycle management on their own, it is no wonder that there is inconsistency and that only the “stars” tend to figure it out.
    So here is a short version of the “recipe” we provide team leaders to help them manage team dynamics and the human side of the project life cycle.
    1.      Never start a project unless the Champion/Sponsoring Manager has formally signed off and accepted ownership for the Project Assignment – The belt may need to do some research to assist the Champion, but do not form a team to develop the project assignment – this is management’s job! Nothing new here except we make a formal process out of it and have the Champion literally sign a project “contract” detailing their role in supporting the team and owership for the project.
    2.      Make sure the Champion attends the first 30 – 45 minutes of the first team meeting to review the assignment with the team and clarify any project boundaries.
    3.      After the initial kick-off meeting which may require a ½ to a full day to create project momentum – keep meeting frequency high, meeting duration short – weekly for no more than 2 hours typically works best.
    4.      Use the meeting time to review assignment completions and set the game plan for moving forward – do not try and do the task work in the large team meetings.  Assign individual accountability for specific tasks and break into subgroups of 2 – 3 to advance task work.
    5.      Start every meeting with a review of assignments due for that meeting and have each individual owner report on progress made.  End each meeting with a confirmation and documentation of assignments agreed to for the next meeting.
    6.      Set-up a weekly communication process with the Champion/sponsoring manager.  Team leader should prepare a ½ – 1 page meeting summary covering progress made and communicating any issues requiring Champion attention.  Schedule formal 30-day review meetings with entire team and the Champion.  Keep these reviews to a maximum of 30 minutes. Use half the time to review progress and half to confirm the game plan moving forward with the Champion.
    7.      Identify the critical coaching points and make expertise available to the team leaders – project planning, team selection, Project kick-off meeting, 30-day Champion reviews and project wrap-up.
    8.  Assist the sponsor and the team lerader in developing a recognition plan for the team.  If it is a long project — longer than 90 days — set clear 60 day milestones, build in a 1 hour review meeting with the Champion and other key managers impacted by the project around the 60-day milestones and inlcude a recognition component following the report out — pizza lunch, cake etc.These are the high points we have found to really increase the success rate of team leaders.  If you found any of this helpful, I would be happy to talk further by phone or email.  You can reach me at (269) 383 3400 or at [email protected].

    0
    #79068

    Carrie Davis
    Participant

    I want to thank you for your detailed response.  The tip about Vector Analysis is something that my boss and I had talked about before, but had not explored at great length because we were unsure of the practical application. 
    We are in the process of filling an open Team Leader position, so we will be able to apply all of the information in the responses and hopefully be successful at selelcting a Team Leader who is successful!

    0
    #79069

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Carrie,
    You’re welcome. Good luck.

    0
Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

The forum ‘General’ is closed to new topics and replies.