As a chef, he’s learning different techniques on how to lead his team. We talked about the importance of a leader getting out of the office to spend time where customers and employees hang out. In his case, he’d get out from behind the stove and be alongside kitchen workers doing prep work.
In Search of Excellence author Tom Peters labeled this practice MBWA (Management by Wandering Around) more than thirty years ago. In his book, Peters identified “excellent” companies that practiced this important leadership function.
Unfortunately, few leaders today practice this approach, declaring, “Not now; I’m too busy.”
I say if you’re too busy now, when will you not be too busy?
Forget the excuses. If you feel uncomfortable interacting with customers or employees, work toward getting comfortable. The benefits will make the effort worthwhile.
Done well, MBWA will allow you to:
- See your organization from a different perspective.
- Discover opportunities to constantly improve.
- Identify weaknesses that need correcting.
- Build credibility, trust, and respect as a leader.
- Expand morale, which occurs as people see how much you care.
Proactively schedule and spend time “wandering around” among your customers and employees.
MBWA must be handled properly to glean many other benefits.
Start with being your authentic self and following these simple guidelines:
- Ask great questions.
- Show appreciation.
- Change what needs to change.
Work this into your schedule now before you have fewer customers to serve.