Many people aspire to positions of leadership. Some even crave, for all the wrong reasons, the power and attention that come with being in charge.
Unfortunately, fewer of us think about what kind of leader we’d like to be, as leading the workforce of today is much more diverse and challenging than it’s ever been. Simply put, this is not a workforce that just follows orders, it’s a workforce that wants and expects to be heard.
So do you want to be that distant boss giving orders from the sanctity of your big, cushy office, while basking in your importance?
Or do you envision something different? Wouldn’t it be nice to stay connected to the people within your organization, right there with them in the trenches?
So, what is Leading By Walking Around
Leading by Walking Around, sometimes called LBWA, means what it sounds like: you walk around and talk one-on-one with team members. This kind of casual conversation facilitates more hands-on participation in the life of your organization.
Some might argue that LBWA is a dated approach, when today’s technology offers time-saving access to alternative forms of communication (texting and emails, for example). However, smart leaders know there’s no substitute for getting out from behind the desk to explore what’s really going on inside the organization.
So how did I learn about this very simple leadership technique? In 1995, I was asked to relocate and become the partner in charge of an office that was in transition. I was just 35 and the average age of the partners was somewhere around 55, so I was not anticipating an easy transition. Before relocating, my CEO gave me the best advice I’d ever received. He said walk around during the day. Stop and chat with your people, not just the partners. Chat with the receptionist, the supply clerk, all people at all levels of your office. He said you will be amazed at what you learn and the respect you will ultimately gain for these individuals. And you know what, I implemented this style of leadership for the next 20 years of my career, and sometimes it’s those little things you do that have the biggest impact on creating loyalty and trust of the people you lead.
Ready to start walking?
Here are some ideas for successfully implementing this simple but powerful tool.
Your organization is only as strong as the relationships you build between you and your people. If you can master the lost art of LBWA, you’ll be on the path to Thrive, not Just Survive.
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