Team Leader

At Toyota, an hourly worker who leads a team of five to eight other workers; called hancho in Japanese.

Team leaders in the Toyota Production System form the first line of support for workers, who—unlike their counterparts in traditional mass production organizations—are at the heart of improvement activities with responsibility for problem solving, quality assurance, and basic preventive maintenance.

Team leaders do not take disciplinary action and do not have a fixed production job. Rather, they provide support by knowing all the jobs performed by their team members so they can relieve workers, fill in for absentees, or help workers who need assistance or are falling behind. They respond to problems such as line stops, andon calls, and take a lead role in kaizen activities. They also use standardized work audit sheets to do daily checks of team members to make sure people are following standardized work and to surface problems.