A high road leader I know, Israel, is constantly reminding other managers to “walk the floor.” He has plenty of paperwork to complete in his office, but it is important to him to be out among his employees and customers, to observe what is going in his retail store and in the production area. When managers are spending too much time in the office, Israel knows that they are missing a lot of visible information regarding the success of the business.
Not only should leaders be visiting the front lines, but they need to do it in a way that enhances employee performance, not hinders it. A recent blog post by Michael Roberto on the Philanthropy Journal website describes this effort.
Roberto provides five guidelines for accountable leaders:
- Be open minded. Sometimes an employee will have an idea, and Israel knows that it won’t work, but he will try the idea for a few days, to allow the employee to learn from these experiences.
- Listen. You are there to observe.
- Save criticism. See #2 above.
- Don’t be a stranger. Don’t “walk the floor” one time, do it often!
- Follow up. Employees will know that your priorities aren’t really priorities if you don’t follow up.