Most leaders are insulated from the work their organizations perform. They tend to spend more time in the boardroom than the server room. This makes a leader ineffective. In order to really know what’s going on in an organization, you have to get out and experience what your people and customers experience.
Knowing the conditions of your workers and your customers will give you a competitive advantage. Reports from the field can get muddled and it’s best that a leader get out there and see first hand what’s going on. Few solutions to complex problems come from the boardroom. Rather, they come from interacting with the people doing the work, using your product and dealing with the issues and challenges every organization faces. Once a leader understands this, making the right decision is a lot easier.
Reducing Group Think
Most leaders are insulated in a bubble. This bubble is the preverbal “cone of silence” where they only hear what people directly in front of them are saying. This single message is usually filtered so much that the real situational dynamics are lost. This condition is known as group think and every organization has it.
Getting past group think requires a keen awareness of what’s going on outside your boardroom or corporate headquarters. The only way to do that is to leave the building and get out in the field.
Not Having to Shoot The Messenger
When you get out in the field, your perspective changes. Ideas, concepts and problems that you hear about start to become more clear. You also start to empathize with the plight of your team and how hard it can be to execute your vision. Doing this allows you to stay grounded in reality and not have to get your information second or even third hand. This greatly reduces the shoot the messenger problem where the bearer of bad news surprises management and gets ridiculed for being negative.
It’s All About Making Better Decisions
When a leader has first hand awareness of his factory, workers, sales offices and customers, they make better decisions. These decisions, be it small or big, show that you are a competent leader that understands your organization. This creates an environment where every level has confidence in your leadership. This confidence makes it easier to lead since people understand that the boss is tuned in.
Once you are tuned into the realities in the field, you can then adjust your approach and strategies for maximum impact. So often, the decisions leaders make are solely based on presented data and not on first hand accounts. This is a recipe for disaster and leads many a leader and company astray.
Creates a More Open Environment
Leaders who get out of the boardroom and into the server room show that they are open to suggestions. Anytime the boss interacts with employees and truly cares about what they do, the more feedback they will get. This feedback is what will drive better strategies and decisions.
An open environment also creates a more collaborative environment where everyone can discuss ideas and come up with better products and services. Leaders that close off their environments will slowly perish due to lack of new ideas, innovations and products.
Go On, Get Out There
Most leaders have the same excuse for not getting out in the field — I’m just too busy. If you are too busy to visit the troops than you are busy on the wrong things. The only way to make better decisions that lead to prosperity is to get out of the boardroom, walk around and listen to what your employees, managers and customers say. They hold the secret to your success — you just have to listen.