The Twelve Principles of Leadership: Principle Four

During a twelve-day period of time, I will be posting daily one of the Twelve Principles of Quality Leadership followed by some questions you, as a leader, may wish to ask yourself.

Hopefully the description and inquiry will cause you to think about how you lead and what you may need to do to improve your leadership.

 And don’t forget to post some commentary. It can be a learning process for us all.

Welcome aboard!

THE TWELVE PRINCIPLES OF QUALITY LEADERSHIP

Systems, Leadership, and Teams

QUESTIONS FOR LEADERS

SYSTEMS

Principle 4.  BE COMMITTED TO THE PROBLEM-SOLVING PROCESS; USE IT AND LET DATA, NOT EMOTIONS, DRIVE DECISIONS.

Use the problem-solving process:  identify the nature and scope of the problem, seek a number of alternatives that will solve the problem, choose the best alternative, implement the chosen alternative, follow-up on its implementation (correct, if necessary, to make it better).  Too often we use our emotions or feelings to choose a course of action.  This principle encourages the use of data, figures, information and facts to drive that decision-making.  Soliciting input is not data – it is important but let’s not call it data.  You should know the data tools; how to gather data, how to show it graphically, and how to look at variation of data.  Let data do the talking.  When employees ask for new things or ways of doing things encourage them to use data to support their recommendations — not use of power (We have all decided that…) or use of feelings (You know this is the better way of doing that…).  Collecting data is using statistical tools to understand, bring into control and improve a process.  Using data will help our decision-making because we will be able to answer that extremely important question — How do we know this is true?

QUESTIONS

a. Can you think of instances when you have witnessed data being used instead of emotions to make a good decision?

b. Think of a problem that is confronting you now.  How can data be used to resolve that problem?  How could that data be visually portrayed?

c. When problems are presented to you, what are some data-related questions you can ask?

[From The New Quality Leadership Workbook, by Couper and Lobitz. To be published this year.]