Blog

Leading: Look and listen

April 26, 2017 -  By

Communication concept on chalkboard

You can’t lead from behind a desk—or over the telephone. If you want to be a leader, you need to personally look at the front-line reality in your business, where your employees meet your company’s customers. In the military, it’s what leaders would call learning the “ground truth,” which can be very different than what you’d otherwise assume by relying upon second-hand information.

When you make the effort to personally go and look at what’s really happening, two immediate positive results will occur:

  1. You’ll see the unvarnished truth with your own eyes.
  2. Your employees will realize that you are committed and you care.

The first benefit will enable you to know where to improve your business; the second will help you build an interactive and accountable culture.

More than simply conducting “management by walking around” (“mbwa” always struck me as an unfocused 1980s sort of expression), instead practice “leadership by getting involved.” Never miss an opportunity to ask how things are going; then actually pause and intently listen to the answer. Stick with it until you reveal the essence of the situation. Of course the key is then actually acting upon the information you learn and following up on commitments you make to team members.

By the time a serious problem makes it to a senior manager’s desk, you can bet that it has already festered for too long. By leading from the front, you’ll be able to see and solve situations by working with those closest to the action, before they escalate into bigger issues.

True leaders inspire their teams to make positive changes in the things that matter most, while creating worthwhile outcomes for customers. Superior results are achieved when leaders collaborate instead of dictate. To become a respected leader, dedicate the time to look and then listen. You’ll be glad you did—and so will your team.

Featured image: iStock.com / kutubQ

Save

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Blog

About the Author:

William (Bill) Dellecker is the Chief Development Officer of HeartLand LLC, which is dedicated to building relationships and delivering exceptional service through leading commercial landscape firms across the Mid West and Mountain West. You can learn more about Heartland at http://heartlandcompany.com. Bill also writes regularly about business culture and leadership on his personal blog, cultivation(s).

Comments are currently closed.