A lot of companies have been implementing Six Sigma lately, and these companies have shown amazing results in their projects. They have shown that their leadership training programs are much better when they follow a Six Sigma procedure and are also considered more effective than those who are not related to Six Sigma. It must be noted though that most of these procedures are guided by Black Belts, experts in Six Sigma, and they usually show the qualities of a leader. So some may ask: what are the abilities that make Black Belts this good at leading? And this is precisely what we will be analyzing today.
First, we must know what we usually consider to be the characteristics of a good leader. There two kinds of knowledge that are usually associated with leadership, these being Know How knowledge and Business knowledge. They should also be extremely creative and innovative as the technology and the techniques are constantly changing so a good leader must be able to not only adapt but also try to be the ones pushing the new tendencies. If a leader doesn’t show these characteristics the processes will be left behind, become outdated and will not be able to compete against other systems or companies. What some may not know is that Six Sigma can be used to prepare and improve the skills of leaders as leadership is something that is better practiced through directly working on projects.
Black belts show these characteristics as the requirements for being a Black belt include them. These requirements are completing successfully different improvement projects in various functional areas, helping “Champions” (one of the roles in Six Sigma) selecting the project necessary for the business, teaching and mentoring in the different training processes that occur during the starting phase of a Six Sigma process and working in a Six Sigma role for at least three years.
Going back to the characteristics, the functional Know How is fulfilled by Black Belts as they are constantly involved in the different processes learning exactly how everything works. This gives them knowledge of how the procedures of their associates work and function, so having a leader that knows how things work and how things are done around will give confidence to the whole team. Business knowledge on the other hand, is usually achieved through constant work in a company, and Black Belts usually learn this as they are constantly involved in all the productions processes. This leads to Black Belts having a good understanding of the products and services that the company provides, their strategies and clients, the requirements and most of the processes. Also, Black belts have experience achieving measurable and tangible improvements to the company, this gives confidence to the team as well as good guidance to the different processes led by the Black Belt.
Six Sigma can also be used to develop new leaders and with the guidance of a Black Belt you can achieve amazing results, this way the team will be able to work independently while knowing how to lead when necessary. Now some of the aspects taken into account when trying to use Six Sigma to develop and train leader, the first one being able to those who have skills necessary to be a good leader so it is really important to take into account the talents displayed by the different candidates. They must be able to work alone by their own initiative without needing to be pushed, they need to be good at communicating with the rest of the team and the other roles of the processes and they need to be passionate about the topics and display statistics and mathematics knowledge.
Make sure these new leaders feel encouraged to finish and develop their leadership skills, make this by showing them the advantages and possible positions they can achieve if they become Black Belts. They also need to train other kinds of skills that are not learned through working directly on projects, these skills can be developed during the different Six Sigma training processes that are done during a project. Some of the areas these leaders might need training in are strategy development, marketing and sales, managing performance in projects and processes, developing the organization in an international environment and devising and implementing strategies correctly.
You should take into account this when developing projects in your company, a good leader will make the difference between success and failure in some projects so make sure your project and company is in the right hands.
If you liked the article and want to read more similar content by David Kiger you should check this blog for more articles, as we post constant updates of systems like Six Sigma, Kaizen and Lean manufacturing that you might find useful. We personally recommend this article on three common mistakes that can be made when implementing a Six Sigma project.