I'm willing to bet you spend so much time dealing with the pressure of your job and feeding the ravenous executive corporate culture machine, that you don't spend much time with the front line staff.
You remember them, right? They're the ones you pass in the hall while your hustling to your next meeting to join the same group of leaders who were in your last meeting.
A year before I left my last organization I decided to try a different approach to connecting with the front line team. I scheduled an hour each month (not a lot of time) to shadow someone. I didn't want the department manager in tow, and I didn't want to sit in a conference room hearing a presentation about the work that was done.
I've worked in hospitals for twenty years, I'm very comfortable on the units, being around patients, and certainly connecting with the staff.
At first the employees were a little skeptical. I think they either thought I was on some sort of secret monitoring mission; or I was about to pull out a powerpoint presentation and help them understand what they should think, feel, say and do.
It was new...I was the only non-clinical leader doing any sort of rounding like this...and it was spectacular. Once the concept sunk in that I was simply there to learn, the change in the employee's demeanor was obvious. Now they had the power. They could 'show off' what they knew, and I was full of questions. Genuine questions.
Suddenly the lens I saw the organization through did not include me. It didn't include my meetings, my email, task list, or the political minefields that plague every company.
I only had to do two things: listen and learn.
How About You
Do these phrases sound familiar: open door policy, management by walking around, employee engagement, blah, blah, blah. Words matter...if you back them up with action. If they're just tossed out into the universe they quickly become a distant echo.
When was the last time you turned words into action?
I'd love to hear from you.