Advancing by Moving Down

26 Feb

Companies are beginning to address the large discrepancies between top managers and front-line employees. More often than not, CEOs are out of touch with the feelings, mentalities, and concerns of the employees that make their companies function. To combat this gap, CEOs and top managers are either being required or are willfully choosing to spend time “on the front lines,” and the positive response is overwhelming.

Making Blind Decisions

If a manager neither knows nor appreciates the inner workings of a company, he or she is forced to make decisions strictly based on figures and concrete evidence. Yet, this decision-making method lacks the emotions and the perceptions that front-line employees add to the mix. More significantly, these same workers are most likely going to be the impacted the most by the decision. Managers have been finding that by increasing their understandings and reducing their knowledge gap, they are more successful and increase overall efficiency.

How to Reduce the Gap Between the Top and Bottom of the Company Totem Pole

Immersion is a powerful tool whenever there is missing information, be it between members of two separate cultures or different level employees in a company. Immersing oneself in the unknown teaches both parties about the other, and begins strong mutual communication. Managers have consistently reported that by interacting with lower-level employees and actually doing the work they do, they have a totally new appreciation and understanding of the impact their decisions have. Furthermore, the same lower-level employees can utilize their newfound relationships to share feedback and ideas, both of which are necessary to improve efficiency and profits. Hence, a manager can only successfully run a company if he or she is in-tune with what the company is made of.

Expanding to the Big Picture

Although seemingly trivial, the timeless lesson of making sure to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes is extremely vital for successful leadership and management. Leaders are only as capable as their followers enable them to be; without a true understanding of who your followers are and why they do and feel as they do, a leader can be neither efficient nor respected. The solution, however, is quite simple, join your followers, and by becoming one of them you can finally appreciate and respect who they are, and they you. So ask yourself who your followers are, and if you are only able to recite a list of names, go out and join them!

by Branden Wachtel



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