One of the continual challenges of organisational leadership is when staff numbers climb to more than 20 people is staying in touch with each of their team.
As an organisation grows so does the amount of time a CEO needs to spend on strategy, forward planning, management, compliance, budgets, administration and representing the organisation outwards.
Usually once there are around 10 employees a management structure will be established to oversee many of the day to day functions. Due to busyness it can become very easy for a CEO to just relate to their manager(s) and be almost entirely removed from many of their key people. The only time some staff members might see their CEO can be at scheduled staff meetings in a more structured setting or if there is a serious problem.
The danger of this isolation of the CEO to organisation leadership is that he/she can lose touch with their people. They can stop being the one who sets the tone, and become almost separated from the culture. This is when organisations can become bureaucratic and lose much of their warmth and life. Employees start to feel like they are just a cog in a machine rather than personally linked to mission.
I believe this is unnecessary and dangerous to organisational health.
Leaders must lead people not organisations!
It is so easy for a CEO, most days, to spend at least 10 – 15 minutes slowly walking around the workplace. In this walkabout they can touch, connect, listen, have a laugh and encourage their staff members. They can keep their finger on the pulse or the atmosphere of their workplace. They should be able to easily relate without becoming involved in managing people or tasks. It is just a matter of referring any issues that staff want to bring up in the appropriate direction.
People love to feel as though they know their boss personally. It is a good feeling to know that your boss knows your name and a few details about you and the big events in your life. In very large organisations this takes different forms; however it is still possible to make a workplace personal. And it is the CEO who sets the tone, by ensuring they are a leader who leads people not just someone who sits behind a desk and does administration.
Most successful CEO’s add this personal touch to their leadership. It is far better to get a personal sense of your people regularly than be relying on managers’ reports.
If you are a CEO or Senior Manager, make a conscious decision to be people oriented. Start to take 10 – 15 minutes once a day to walk around and relate to your team. It will not only assist you to set a positive tone in your organisation, it will also remind you to know that your leadership is not just about writing another report, but about touching and leading people.
Leaders must lead people, not organisations!