Friday, March 29, 2013

Management: Take A Walk And Talk To Your Employees

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Whether you are a Chairman, a CEO, a Project Manager or any type of individual in the company hierarchy who is in a position of oversight and responsibility for production, don't distance yourself completely from your troops. A certain amount of isolation and unapproachability may be effective for maintaining control and for posturing, but if you never go walking around the facility and casually talking to the individuals working there at random, you run a great many risks --- just think about Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake." fiasco. For a more recent example, just look at the incredible rate (an historic low) of dissatisfaction amongst the US populace with their legislators and political leaders.

This latter phenomenon is largely due to the abundantly apparent lack of concern that these elected and appointed politicians [public servants?] have for the people whom they are supposed to represent, and their increasingly distancing themselves from the problems on Main Street while having cocktails with large businesses and their lobbyists, or playing partisan politics.

Part Of Leadership And Management (In Business Or In Politics) Means Walking Around And Talking To Your Workforce Or Constituents. You Can Learn Much, While Also Getting A Chance To Set An Example And Show Active Concern. You'll find the following article excerpt from SmartBrief to be a reaffirmation of what I've already said.


There are better ways for bosses to spend their time than in endless meetings and evaluation sessions, writes S. Chris Edmonds. The best leaders take charge of their schedules and make plenty of time for walking around the workplace, engaging directly with workers and modeling the kinds of values they hope to see emulated. "These leaders invest time in observing by wandering around, connecting one-on-one with frontline team leaders and frontline employees and asking how things are going," Edmonds explains. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (3/26)

The fact is that you cannot let your people feel that you either don't care about them, aren't watching them with interest, or are completely unapproachable all of the time. There must be visible as well as psychic interplay between you and your subordinates. An occasional walk and talk can: help you sense dissatisfaction or dissension (and get to work on staving it off); help find out about what common themes concern your people the most; get a sense (albeit somewhat censored) of how you are regarding as a person and as a leader; help make your people feel like more of a united, focused team -- a group with a mission, and with a leader who cares about helping them to achieve that mission. A leader who walks out among his or her people and who listens to them as well as speaks to them.

Of paramount importance is that you can demonstrate the personal qualities and ethics that you'd want your employees to emulate. Whether consciously or subconsciously, followers tend to desire to emulate and please their leaders. Take advantage of this knowledge and leverage it to be able to increase the cohesion, focus and good spirit of your team. 

Remember, a leader who remains holed up in his or her office all day and never "interpersonalizes" with the workforce will be either viewed as a despot , a coward, or as a company robot. None of these impressions is particularly desirable.

Now get out there. Do it periodically. Do go too long without rubbing elbows and pressing flesh -- nothing good ever comes of that.

Oh, and before I forget -- thank you so much for reading me, and for sending my articles out to your contacts and colleagues through your various social media channels!


p.s. You might also find The Taking Command Blog to be of interest. Please stop by.

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