The best bosses are the ones who know what is going on in their company at all times, not just at the top but also at the bottom.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the company is, the leader who loses touch with the people who works for them is not only a poor manager but is also more likely to make bad business decisions.
This does come with a health warning – there is a big difference between knowing your business and staff inside out and being the kind of manager who likes to have a say in everything that happens in the organisation. Being a control freak can be an even bigger problem than becoming isolated from the workforce.
However, the people who work at the coalface of the business are the ones who know which services and products work and more importantly which ones do not. They deal directly with the customers and will know before anyone else in the company when there is a problem or an issue. Quite frankly, their thoughts and views are vital when it comes to the future prosperity and performance of the business.
Here are two ways to make sure you stay in touch with your people on the ground.
Being approachable isn’t just about how you talk to people in the office it is about your general demeanour and manner. Some people don’t even know they are doing it but can give off all the wrong signals before they even engage in conservation. Rather than trying to dominate a situation, good bosses try to put people at ease.
It is important to let people know that you are there and ready to listen if employees feel the need to talk to you about an issue or a problem. Obviously, it would be unwise and unprofessional to try and be friends with everyone but at the same time you want people to get the right message from you.
At all the businesses I have owned, I make a conscious decision to not be holed away in my own office on another level or a separate part of the building. I am usually found on the same floor as everybody else, so my staff know they can come and ask me about anything.
Make people feel involved
There are obvious ways to keep lines of communication with your staff open including regular meetings in both formal and informal settings. There are certain process such as appraisals and staff reviews that, if done in a positive way, are perfect for talking to staff on a one to one basis.
But I also like to get those who work for me involved in meetings. During meetings I will ask people for their point of view on topics under discussion. There is nothing wrong with giving people within an organisation the chance to have a say and air their opinions provided it is done in a controlled and positive way.
Businesses are not a democracy and of course the management team are there to make the important decisions but I think it is a great idea to let people have their say. If employees know that you are willing to listen to them and value their opinions, then they are likely to respect you even more as a manager or decision maker.
The success of your business is clearly linked to the attitude of your workforce. In turn, their attitude is often determined by the message given by the people at the top. A good boss will recognise this and make sure they are constantly in touch with the people on the ground.
Posted by:James Caan