(Time to read this Blog article is about 45 seconds)
While speaking at a Conference last week, I did a series of 30-minute 1-on-1 coaching sessions. One of my coaching ‘customers’, we’ll call him George, was a gentleman who runs an auto recycling yard for a boss who he has not seen in six months. The head office, where the boss hangs out, is only one hour away from George’s branch location, but apparently, that’s too far to travel.
A year ago, this same ‘invisible boss’ asked George to prepare a new Business Plan for his division and George spent weeks putting it together. So far, he hasn’t heard a word back. Over the past several months George has emailed his boss several suggestions on how to operate and market more effectively…but so far, no response.
George is frustrated, disheartened, disengaged and actively looking for a new job. No big surprise there. When bosses are ‘invisible’, we assume they don’t care. And, if they don’t care, why should we? Whatever happened to “MBWA”…Management by walking around? Get out from behind your desk and find out what’s really going on in your business. Engage employees at all levels in conversations. Energize and thank them. Ask them what you can do to serve them better? Ask them what needs fixing and what extraordinary things might be possible. Our people know stuff, and they hate it when we don’t ask.
Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, had two vehicles. A pickup truck to get him around town and a corporate jet to get him around the country. The jet allowed him to visit as many as 6 stores a day, many of them in smaller communities with no scheduled airline service. The jet allowed him to be visible, to be a ‘cheerleader’, and to listen. So, what commitment will you make to be more visible and more available to your team? Don’t be the ‘invisible boss’.