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Successive Business Leaders “Walk the Floor”

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Most business leaders and managers are familiar with the phrase “walking the halls.” Is this what we are doing? What does this mean? Is it really possible to do?

This means taking the time to visit your employees’ workplaces on a regular basis.

It’s a belief held by many successful business leaders.

It helps employees show interest in them, that they value their skills, knowledge and opinions, and that it can help improve results. Asking questions allows you to get to the root of business issues and often provides the best solutions.

Business leaders believe that it encourages commitment and accelerates actions to solve problems faster than usual. Because people can see you are serious, and this can help them take action.

There are some common themes when I ask business owners and managers that I work with if they ‘walk on the floor. These statements might be familiar to you.

I don’t have the time to meet my staff. I’m too busy trying my job/get new clients/sort out their problems. I’m sure you have many other statements that you could substitute for this one – but you get the idea!

This is a statement you might make yourself, but it will be obvious that you are prioritizing other things. You don’t believe it’s enough!

This could be a key part of your business leadership role.

I do not have staff. I work with associates. They aren’t based in the same place as me so this does not apply.

It doesn’t necessarily apply to the same team physically, but it can be used in other ways. You could, for example, set up regular Skype meetings.

My staff should not need supervision. They should be doing what they were paid to do.

Although I think most team members don’t need to be monitored 24/7, they will respond if you show genuine interest in their work, and that you care about what happens to them.

Asking questions will only make them more defensive. They’ll be suspicious if I ask questions.

While it is possible for some to feel this way, my experience and that of many of my clients shows that most people won’t. As long as you’re sincere, ask questions, listen and praise appropriately,

Sometimes you might be looking out for them or checking on their progress. Trusting relationships can be built if you are sincere and don’t criticize.

The opposite is true. I have heard the following complaints from people being managed.

The boss doesn’t know who or what I do.

This statement may be true, but ‘walking on the floor’ can show that you know your staff well and appreciate what they do.

We don’t know our boss, and we rarely see her.

Regularly ‘walking the floor’ with your staff will make you more visible, it will allow them to get to know you and show you are open to their ideas.

She takes credit when things are going smoothly, and we take the blame when they don’t!

“Walking the Floor” allows you to give credit and recognition where it is due, and encourages problem solving and not blame culture.

This activity should be carried out with the right David Barrick intentions and sufficient attention to make it work. It will be obvious to your team if you don’t have the right intentions. People can tell if you aren’t genuine or preoccupied with other matters.

To build trusting relationships, I believe that ‘walking on the floor’ is key to Leading and Managing. This allows employees to feel, see and hear you, and to experience the direction you are taking them in.

If you recognize yourself in any of these statements, it might be time to start “walking the halls.”

What about scheduling time each week? As a leader or a business owner, you have nothing to lose but potentially much to gain.

Julie Johnson is a leading success coach, speaker, and author who teaches women all over the globe how to succeed in business and life.