Are You Really Asking?
Here's one I came up with yesterday… having a discussion with supervisors about asking questions as leaders.
There's different tones of voice and different intents, when asking questions. The worst form would be, “Why the hell aren't you following the standard work??? How many times do I have to emphasize that??”
A better approach might be, “It appears that the standard work isn't being followed. Why is this the case? Has something changed? Is there a problem we need to fix?” (as a legitimate question that you want the answer to).
This is a “wife approved” example. If your wife asks, “Why did you leave your socks in the middle of the floor?” that really isn't a question that she's expecting an answer to. It's more of a polite way of saying, “I wish you wouldn't leave your socks on the floor, please pick them up.”
Keep that in mind when asking questions of your employees. Are they really questions? Are you prepared to listen and engage in the response?
Because you never know, there MIGHT be a good reason that the standard work isn't being followed. You have to discover what that is and practice kaizen (or coach the employee on the importance of following the standard). That's different than saying “follow the standard work because I'm the boss and because I said so.”
There's no good excuse why I left my socks in the middle of the floor!
Updated: Be sure to check out John Hunter's “Curious Cat” post on this topic