Positive Incline Mike Burrows (@asplake) moving on up, positively

June 18, 2013

Small acts of leadership

Filed under: Kanban,leadership,lean,Values — Tags: , , , — Mike @ 12:35 pm

In case you thought leadership was only for other people:

  1. Do something fresh with transparency: try out a new visualisation on someone else; crystallise a pattern or policy out of the decisions you’ve made recently; review your feedback loops
  2. Check your balance: Overloaded? Not finishing stuff? No wiggle room? Too short term? Not enough experimentation?
  3. Foster collaboration: work on a problem with a friend; make an introduction; look at who works with whom
  4. Adjust your customer focus: identify your customer, the customer behind the customer, the deeper need behind their apparent problem, next year’s problem. Talk!
  5. Pay attention to flow: Can you see it? What is stuck today? Where do blockages repeatedly occur? Why is that?
  6. Grow understanding: go and see; share what you found; admit “we don’t know enough yet”; try an experiment (and dare to describe it as such)
  7. Seek agreement: That change you’re involved in… Whose idea was it, who’s implementing it, who’s impacted? All agreed?
  8. Show and expect respect: Do we still have to ask about this one?
  9. Develop leadership in yourself and in others: be an encouragement to someone else in their small act of leadership; share this handy list 🙂

None of these require you to wear a special badge. Try one!


  1. Hi Mike,

    Seemed like a straightforward post until I got to #7 – Seek Agreement. Stumbled here as I thought it might be going down the ‘submit to change’ road. Clicked on the link and was happy to see it wasn’t. Only thing I might change is to say “Facilitated well, it is seeking agreement between rather than expecting agreement from;” only because saying it ‘feels like’ doesn’t necessarily mean it is (at least for me).
    Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Diana Jones — June 18, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  2. Thanks Diana, yes, like “leadership”, “agreement” can be a very loaded word. I think we’re on the same wavelength with regard to ‘submit to change’

    I’ll revisit the line you highlight when I’m next editing that page. I must say though that whilst I must take responsibility for my own motives I try to assume good intentions on the part of others rather than worry about theirs! Perhaps I can find a wording that satisfies both of us.


    Comment by Mike — June 18, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

  3. No worries at all, didn’t mean to imply you should change it, was just pointing out how “I” interpret ‘it feels like’. Made me think of the duck test ‘If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.’
    My train of thought is that we cannot afford to make assumptions when seeking agreement on change.
    I’m satisfied by discussing it : )

    Comment by Diana Jones — June 18, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

  4. “Assume good” or at least “not assume bad”. Either way, I think we’re done. Thanks 🙂

    Comment by Mike — June 18, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

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