The Edges of Lean — Episode 23: Continuous Improvement and the Kind Leader


In today’s age, when companies’ primary outlook is to compete and win, bad management and leadership practices are rampant. Many people suffer inside organizations because of this. In this episode I discussed with Karyn Ross  how to be a Kind Leader. AND how important it is to be kind even if you are not in a leadership role.  We discuss why this will help you to lead a happy life and help others within your organization. Karyn Ross, who is the author of   “The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Eliminating Fear, Creating Trust, and Leading with Kindness ‘’ defines kindness as when we take EMPATHY (which is our ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes} and move to ACTION, deciding what to do and then doing it.



An experienced lean consultant, coach and practitioner, Karyn Ross is the coauthor, with Jeff Liker, of the Shingo Award-winning The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations. Ross is an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, consultant, coach, and practitioner. Focused specifically on services, Karyn has worked with small, medium, and large organizations in sectors as diverse as insurance, financial services, HR, transportation, and retail. Using her unique approach, Karyn teaches people how to combine creativity with lean practices to ensure that every customer receives exactly what they want, when they want it, right the first time with a personal, human touch and she’s the author of six books one of her book is    “The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Eliminating Fear, Creating Trust, and Leading with Kindness ‘’

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Topics in this podcast:

  • How far does good leadership go? It’s not just about bringing people with the vision and helping them in a direction, but also being there as an individual.
  • Understanding the key to a difficult conversation in a way that is kind and how leadership kindness can help employees and co-workers change the way they work –  and be more positive.
  • In a world where competition is present, teams should not compete with each other. They should collaborate and cooperate instead. This will  lead to the growth of their team as well as improvement for everyone on that team



  • Kindness isn’t only about having empathy but requiring some sort of expression for that kindness towards others – whether it’s through actions or words, you  can really impact how people feel toward one another without even knowing why they’re being kinder than usual.
  • Being a leader doesn’t just mean presiding over an office full of employees. Every person has the opportunity and capability to be a leader in their own sphere, whether it’s within your family or among friends.
  • Leaders should be a kind listener, and practice the art of having  difficult conversations in the right (and kind)  way. into others misbehaving as well.
  • Leaders are important for their ability to guide the people towards a common goal. These leaders can create an outcome that is both beneficial and rewarding, not only for themselves but also reporting to them.
  • A leader’s treatment of their followers impacts how these people feel about the job and company. If a person feels that they are appreciated, it makes them less likely to leave or complain – even in difficult conditions. By being kind and humane towards your team members you can keep things running smoothly for yourself as well!
  • A team with good leadership that is helping, collaborating and cooperating with each other without competing can help them reach a common goal successfully.


Memorable Quotes from the Episode


“When we experience fear we tend to treat others unkindly because were focused on ourselves but remember the definition of kindness, kind leaders are focused on the positive outcomes for others’’