Business books, business book authors, and regular folks all agree – there is too much segregation in the workplace. I’m not talking about racial or ethnic segregation, but rather segregation between leaders and the people they need to be leading.
I have noticed this is at companies where we speak. If a company brings us in for a book synopsis presentation, it is frequently the case that people in key leadership positions seldom come to these book presentations. And these presentations are designed to facilitate conversation. And it is so very common for someone to say to me “I wish my boss/supervisor had heard this.”
Tom Peters was the first (that I remember) to say that we need more management by walking around. And Susan Scott says that companies need lots of purposeful, intentional, honest conversations.
Here is the obvious fact: there can be no such conversations in a segregated workplace. Here was the last point on my handout at the end of my presentation of Susan Scott’s Fierce Leadership:
No more work place segregation – for conversations to matter, you have to mingle up and down the hierarchy!
So, memo to the executive leadership team: Mix and Mingle and Listen to All of your Folks. Sit with them at lunch. Walk around and strike up conversations. Listen! A lot. Every week. Maybe some every day. You have to know your people to lead your people. And, to state the obvious, you have to spend time with your people to know your people.