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Skills Six Sigma Black Belts Need to Survive (and Thrive)

Like most certification programs, Six Sigma has a natural rank in the order of levels, known as “belts”. Beginning with White Belt, Six Sigma professionals will enhance their knowledge and skills concerning the business process improvement. Over time, they will advance to higher levels, such as Green Belt, Master Black Belt, or even Champion. However, most will reap the most benefits at the Black Belt level. At this certification, Six Sigma employees have the skills needed to manage a variety of projects with room to improve. Additionally, Six Sigma Black Belts are qualified to train other employees on the methodology, improving the corporation’s overall function. In this article, we will discuss the skills a Six Sigma Black Belt needs to survive and thrive in the workplace.

First, Leadership.

Above everything else, a Six Sigma Black Belts should be naturally born leaders. Employers will look to their Black Belt employees for guidance and motivation. Especially so during times of reorganization, project management, and other corporate restructures. Like any good leader, Six Sigma Black Belts have natural motivation. They want to push through dilemmas and find the best immediate result for the business process at hand. 

Second, Communication.

Although not first, communication is also key to the skillset needed for Six Sigma Black Belts. Whether you’re communicating with your employer and staff team, or between your supplier and a customer, effective communication is a must in the world of Six Sigma. Complementing the trait of a natural leader, Black Belts must exert an advanced skill with communication, speaking to multiple audiences at any time. Communication is vital to the success of business process improvements across the board!

Third, Technical Understanding.

Like other certification levels in Six Sigma, Black Belts are expected to understand the fundamentals of the methodology. However, what separates Black Belts from lower certification levels is their ability to recognize and understand when to use said fundamentals. While a technical or engineering degree is beneficial, most Six Sigma Black Belts will understand the need for thorough comprehension of the methodology and where implementation is necessary.

Last, Trust.

A team is only as effective as the weakest link, and this saying resonates within Six Sigma. Whether improving a business process efficiency or decreasing waste output, employees need a strong leader who will guide them towards the right goal. A Six Sigma Black Belt should practice trustworthy characteristics, promoting the integrity of the entire production or manufacturing team. In order to do this, employees must have trust in their leader. Complementing the first skill Black Belts must have to succeed, trust is equally important. When a team of employees does not trust the initiative of their leaders, progress cannot be made. In contrast, when employees respect their manager and trust that their goals are aligned with the company, progress is easily made.

These four skills are vital to the success of any Six Sigma Black Belt employee. Follow these, and you will practice the business process improvement methodology with integrity and ease!


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