Dr. Deming’s Role of a People Manager


I stumbled across these notes I had taken about 8 or 9 years ago based on a video lecture from Dr. Deming:

W. Edwards Deming – The Role of a People Manager
Lecture Notes 8/13/1990

  • A manager and his people understand the meaning of a system and how the work of his group may support these aims.
  • A manager works in cooperation with preceding and following stages toward optimization of the efforts of all stages.
  • She understands that all people are different from each other and tries to create for everybody interest, challenge, and joy in work. Improvement and innovation are her aim.
  • He acts as a role model and as an unceasing learner.
  • She is a coach and counsel, not a judge.
  • He understands a stable system, including what to do about mistakes and failures of people and how to help them.
  • She has three sources of power 1) Formal 2) Knowledge 3) Personality.
  • He will study results with the aim to improve his work.
  • Another aim is to learn whom, if anybody, is outside the system, and in need of special help.
  • He creates trust. This takes time. Give your word and follow up on it.
  • She does not expect perfection.
  • He listens and learns without passing judgment.
  • She understands the benefits of cooperation and the losses from competition between people and between groups.

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1 Comment
  1. Martin Arrand says

    “She does not expect perfection”

    Quite: that’s why we act on the system (e.g. through error-proofing) to reduce defects to zero. We don’t place undue pressure on our team members to reach unrealistic levels of personal perfection.

    I can’t help thinking some managers haven’t grasped the distinction (yet).

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