Kaizens and Transformational Leadership

A specific theory that is relevant to describing the effectiveness of Trader Joe’s is transformational leadership. This being when a leader identities areas that can be improved upon, and creating a plan in order to execute a change. This theory of leadership directly relates to a value of Trader Joe’s, which is “kai-zen.” This value is where employees of Trader Joe’s always look for areas to improve upon themselves and share this knowledge with others to help them as well. At different points throughout the day, there will be huddles to discuss any new information that is being passed down from the executives of the company to employees. During these uncertain times of COVID, these meetings are especially important as they allow employees to ask questions, relay advice, and allow the crew to share information. Often times during these huddles, kaizens will be shared, which directly relate to transformational leadership. Mates, who are managers, will lend advice on how to deal with tricky situations involving customers, social distancing, etc. and crew members will share what they say to others to help maintain their safety. It can be difficult to remind customers of social distancing in a polite, calm manner so a crew member expressed how they do so saying that wearing a mask properly and maintaining the correct distance, not only protects the safety of the customer but those around them. There have also been times when I have been unsure how to properly cite exceptions on products that we receive at night, as I usually work closing shifts. While with previous employers I have been scared to talk to management for fear of reprimanding at mistakes I unknowingly made, my manager simply walked me through the correct way, and showed me what to do by example. They told me not to apologize and instead simply learn from my mistakes. This truly helped me feel as though I could become a better employee, as it made me unafraid to ask questions and look to others for help, which truly is such an important part of creating a supportive and successful work environment. Overall Trader Joe’s value of kai-zen directly relates to the leadership theory of transformational leadership, and it is a central reason of why I believe their employees seem to feel so supported in their stores.