Fearless Leadership by Walking Around
Fearless Leadership is not accomplished sitting behind a desk or by dictating demands via email. Fearless leadership and leading a high performing team requires you to be visible, be intentional, and lead from the front.
Recently I was the keynote speaker for a group of grocery industry executives and professionals. Immediately following my keynote presentation, the CEO of one of the United States’ largest multi-billion dollar grocery chains addressed the conference attendees. He shared how he regularly gets out of his office and gets into the stores to see what is really happening.
Specifically, as the CEO of a multi-BILLION dollar company, he views email as a tool and doesn’t use it as an excuse to not get out and get in front of his frontline teammates.
He invests in these relationships, because they are so valuable and can be the fastest way to pick up on changes in the marketplace.
He models the values of this successful company by creating a sense of community around the business-the brand, and also expects to see them emulated.
The leader sets the tone. He/She models the behavior. She pays attention to ‘the little things.’
Fearless Leadership By Walking Around.
It starts with you.
Five minutes of face-to-face, personal contact will do more than a week’s worth of emails.
In what has become a classic leadership book In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters calls this MBWA, or “Managing By Walking Around.” Essentially, getting up and out of your office and in front of your people.
Somehow you must be able to find a way to connect with your team members, in a way other than email.
I know this makes some shudder.
Too bad. To be an effective leader, it’s necessary.
You cannot effectively build, lead, or manage a high performing team until you know your team well and understand the challenges that they encounter.
After all, Fearless Leadership by Walking Around is critical to your team’s success.
Begin by setting the tone through your words and actions:
- You can’t “Phone it In!” Getting to know the members of your team requires that you meet them ‘where the action is.’
- Meet them at their work space, see the environment that they deal with day in and day out.
- Ask probing questions, but more importantly l-i-s-t-e-n to their responses.
Building these relationships will allow you to take your team to the next level of performance.
Whether you are an individual contributor, a manager, a manager of managers, or a Vice President, your team needs you to make them better at what they’re doing, and you need to understand them and foster these relationships in order to do so successfully.
Get to know the professionals who work for you–get out of your office! Push away from the email, get on deck and start talking to your teammates!
Most importantly, make Fearless Leadership by Walking Around your competitive advantage.
Carey Lohrenz is the author of the Wall Street Journal Best Seller “Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck.”, a motivational speaker and leadership expert.
Carey has flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot. Her extensive experience operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments, an aircraft carrier, and her unique position as one of the first female combat pilots make her the perfect opening or closing inspirational keynote speaker for your corporate meeting or conference.
Carey graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she was a varsity rower, also training at the Pre-Olympic level. After graduation, she attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School before starting flight training and her naval career. She is the mother of four kids, and is currently working on her Master’s in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership.