There’s a great article over on Industry Week on Staying True to the Toyota Way During the Recession which started off with a truism that every manager should remember:
Always remember that management should work for team members, instead of team members working for management. We should always show respect for every individual, and we need to make sound decisions locally because no one knows what’s best for your team members in your own culture better than you.
A productive team member is one that is respected, enabled, and free of distractions, disturbances and road-blocks. A good manager understands that the buck not only stops here, it starts here too. Employees should not waste any time on issues that need management resolutions — those issues should go straight to management. A manager does what she can to make sure her employees have the technologies and resources they need to do their job effectively. A good manager thinks of the success of her team before her own success — not the other way around.
Furthermore, a great company places a very high priority on long-term employment security for its employees as they are not “human resources” to be hired and fired on a whim. That’s why morale is approaching an all-time low and up to 90% of your employees are waiting for the job market to come back so they can high-tail it to a better job, or at least a different job.
And a great company gets creative and looks at its CSR and employment policies in a holistic way. When Toyota couldn’t make cash contributions to the charities it typically supported, and plants were idle, it offered manpower in the form of its engineers instead. And it used their brainpower in creative ways to cut overhead and operational costs to reduce the cost of keeping them onboard. And, most importantly, it retrained them so that, when the downturn started to reverse, they were ready to take advantage of new opportunities.
Put people first and you are more likely to succeed.