Management by Walking Around

Everyday can seem like a grind if you’re a manager. Your dealing with conflicts and issues in your office with an endless stream of appointments, visitors, and tasks. Occasionally it is good to get out of your office to manage by walking around. If you manage multiple sites you may need to hop on Travelocity and get some tickets.

Abraham Lincoln is likely the first leader that practiced this by frequently visiting the union troops. Other managers such as Bill Hewlett and David Packard of HP are remembered as wandering around the company. Steve Jobs not only walked and talked with employees, but he was known to have picked up the phone and call customers that had complained.

Make it Part of Your Routine

If you need to block time out on your calendar, try not to make it a fixed schedule. If you do it every Tuesday at 10:00 employees will begin to prepare for your not so impromptu visit. The more often that you do it, the more beneficial it is.

Don’t Bring an Entourage

This is a solo project. Don’t bring your assistant or the department head. People can feel like you are ganging up on them or at the least self-conscience.

Visit Everybody

You may have a favorite department. If you came up through the ranks of sales you may feel more comfortable hanging out in that department, but it is make the rounds to everybody. Even if you can’t see everyone in one session then pick up where you left off on your previous rounds. Spending too much time in one area or department can create the wrong kind of buzz.

Ask for Suggestions

Ask each employee for their ideas to improve products, processes, or service. If you implement an employee’s idea be sure to give them credit. A pad of paper and a pen are a great idea or you can jot a note on your smartphone.

Follow up on Questions

If an employee has a question and you don’t know the answer right away be sure to note the question and follow up later with an answer. This will help build trust and rapport with employees.

Not Time for Corrections

If you do happen to find someone who is not performing correctly avoid the temptation to correct the issue, there and then. Make note of the issue then address it either in private later or via the person’s supervisor.

Business advisor Dave Ramsey has a great short video on how he manages by walking around…

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