Yogi Berra said “You can observe a lot just by watching.” I love Yogi quotes, and this is my favorite. This coupled with the “Management By Walking Around” theory can tell you many things about your company. Leaders and managers… you have to leave your work area to do this. It is so common for owners/leaders/those in management to get comfortable in their own little (or big) world, and the company is just out of your view. Worse, maybe, is that you are out of its view. How do you expect to lead this company if you aren’t watching and being watched?
I have a favorite company story… in the old days when we were poor (lots of Employers Resource stories begin this way) I traveled lots and did whatever it took to get the job done. It was not uncommon to find me in the administration file room of a branch office, heels kicked off, doing the filing. I also would sit on the floor with stacks of files, sorting them and checking for accuracy. Once I was in our Atlanta branch and I heard a new employee say to the office manager… “you expect me to stand there and file all of this?” to which the manager replied… “I have seen Mary Gersema kick off her heels and stand there for hours. If she can do it, so can we.” I was humbled, proud, and so very thankful that I had been in their view doing what it took and that I had been able to witness it come full circle.
So my advice is this: make it a new habit to walk around observing for an hour a week for 10 weeks. You’ll see things that you can correct and many things to be proud of. The biggest benefit will be that the staff knows they are important enough for the boss to come visit.