Leaders can never be too visible to their staff. Great leaders take a walk at least twice a day when they are in the office. Not only does it give them some much-needed exercise but it ensures that they can catch up with staff they might not normally see during meetings. Unfortunately, today, more often than not, it is only the older, more experienced managers who walk around the office—the younger managers believe that an email will do! Drucker was very scathing about leaders who communicate by email, his advice was “Go and ask”.
Every night, no matter how many degrees below freezing it was, Shackleton would visit each tent for a pep-talk. He would wake in the early hours of the morning to be some company for the man on watch.
Churchill flew incredible journeys during World War II, at great risk to his health, to visit the different theatres of war. He was always inspecting what the scientists had to offer. He also regularly visited areas of London that had been riddled with bombs.
One week a year, George Hickton, a successful New Zealand CEO and leader, likes to take his executive team to run a part of the business with the existing staff by their side showing them the ropes. His executive teams in the past have run an employment centre, a betting agency, and a tourist information centre.
You know you have got it right when all staff feel confident at any time to come up and wish you “Good morning, Pat” when you arrive at work.
A better practice is to spend 20 minutes walking among your team members each day, posing a question or two to show you are up with the play and to keep them on their toes.
You may wish to read an extract from my Winning Leadership Whitepaper, this paper can be purchased from my website.