A colleague recently received a promotion, and one focus area for him will be visibility—being out in the workplace where he can interact with direct reports, and frontline employees. It's an excellent strategy that has many benefits.
Communicating Your Message: The first benefit is that it gives you yet another opportunity to get your message out. Whatever your "message" is, you communicate it more effectively when you interact with direct reports and employees, where they are.
Perhaps you want to emphasize the purpose of your organization.
When people are connected to the grand purpose, they're more
engaged in their work, more committed to the organization's goals, and more productive in their jobs.
Or perhaps your message is that you're there to support your
direct reports, or the employees. Whatever your message is,
interacting with employees, or Management By Walking Around, as
it's sometimes called, is a great opportunity to communicate that message.
Harnessing the Power of Relationships: Another benefit is that visibility and interaction enable you to build relationships
with your employees. As my colleague said, he wants to know them as people, not just as names on an org chart.
Leadership, and just about any related topic—customer service, teamwork, sales—is all about relationships. And visibility enables you to build the trust that is the foundation of any relationship.
The Emotional Intelligence concept says that people are more engaged in their work when they feel a strong positive emotional connection to their leaders. Building relationships is about understanding employees' frustrations, accomplishments, and aspirations.
It's hard to connect if you're not where the workers are.
Overcoming the Information Vacuum: Visibility also eliminates the information vacuum that occurs when you as a leader are not around very much. The old adage "out of sight, out of mind" doesn't apply here. If you as a leader are NOT very visible, employees will start to wonder why.
And when they ask "why," they have an information vacuum,
and they'll quickly fill that vacuum. Unfortunately, they
probably won't use YOUR information about why you're not there (how hectic your schedule is, the important projects
you're working on, etc.).
No, they'll fill it with THEIR information—maybe the boss doesn't care, maybe we're the lowest on the boss' priority
When you're visible, you're eliminating their information vacuum.
Whether you're new to your position, or whether you've been in it a long time, one of your leadership strategies should
include visibility. That means interacting with direct reports and frontline employees where THEY are most comfortable: In their work place.
How visible are you in the workplace? What are your direct reports and employees saying about your visibility?
Until next edition, keep leading the way!
Copyright (C) 2011 by Terry Wall